The Diocese is in its third and final phase of its Forward in Faith Campaign.  So far the Campaign has received $9,134,449 in pledges.  Our parish has contributed 53 pledges amounting to $106,190.  Thanks to everyone who made a pledge.  If you are interested in making a pledge to the Campaign, there are brochures and pledge cards available in the narthex.  A follow up letter will be coming to parishioners who have not made a pledge yet.

Fr. Roger Karban has an interesting reflection on today’s scripture in Celebration.  He tells us, “By far one of the amazing truths of scripture revolves around our sacred authors’ conviction that God simply expects us to carry out God’s will in our lives, even if we fail in the process.  God’s definition of success and failure is quite different from our definition.

He points out Paul’s charge to us in First Corinthians, “You have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy…”

In scripture, the word “holy” has nothing to do with being sanctimonious, walking around with hands folded and eyes gently raised to heaven.  It is best translated as “other”: different or unique.  Holy persons stand out from those around them.  Though they don’t necessarily look “other,” they have a unique value system, a way of viewing people and things that is often at right angles to the way the majority of people look at those same people and things.  Because of that holy viewpoint, holy people are expected to do holy things.

Paul was not particularly successful in his mission to the Corinthians.  It was one of those experiences that forced him to realize that it was not his persuasive argument that would win people over.  Rather, it was the power of the cross.  The cross, a sign of defeat, is the sign of God’s great love.  Paul came to realize that it was when he was weak that he was strong, because then it was God working through Paul.  Fr. Karban comments, “We see things from a totally different perspective when we’re operating from a position of weakness or failure instead of a position of strength.”

Fr. Karban proceeds to look at this insight from the world view of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a mid 20th century Jesuit paleontologist/theologian.

The key to Teilhard’s evolutionary theology revolves around his insistence that the only force that can keep us complex, yet transform us more deeply into one, is the force of love.  “Love alone,” he wrote, “is incapable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves.”

And in perhaps his best-known quote: “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time, we will have discovered fire.”

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Teilhard believed it was the weakest, not the strongest link that evolved.

Fr. Karban notes that, “Nothing weakens us humans more deeply than love.  When we totally give ourselves to others, we destroy all our defenses and open ourselves to whatever those others can do to us – good or bad – At the same time, it leads us to experience the uniqueness of those others and ourselves and creates a bond of oneness that can’t be achieved in any other way.”

Mother Theresa said that God does not call us to be successful, but faithful.  That is the call to holiness.  God is our strength and we come to that strength through love.

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