Sunday, August 23 at St. Francis Xavier Parish

Dear Friends,

The summer months are passing so quickly as we find ourselves already in the second half of August. This Sunday we celebrate the 21stSunday in Ordinary Time, where our focus is on St. Peter’s profession of faith. 

“In today’s gospel Jesus asks his disciples to report on the rumors and gossip of the crowd that follows him. He wants to know what they are saying about his identity. While the crowds posit that Jesus might be Elijah or John the Baptist or one of the prophets come back to life, they haven’t made the startling conclusion that Peter has come to: that this man is in fact the anointed one they have been waiting for, the Messiah, “the Son of the living God.” This question of faith remains one that is asked of each disciple today. We have met Jesus in the word of God and in the sacraments of the church. We have heard him proclaimed to us by catechists, evangelists, and preachers. Still, Jesus wants to know, “Who do you say that I am?”

After Peter confesses that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus makes his own profession about Peter, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” As Catholics, we treasure this verse as the biblical foundation of the ministry of the pope who leads from the chair of St. Peter. Within our church, the role of the pope is a unifying force that draws us into communion with each other. 

Despite Jesus’ elevation of Peter, he is not a perfect disciple. In only a few more verses, after he protests Jesus’ prediction of his passion and death, Jesus will issue a startling rebuke: “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.” Never in the gospels has Jesus’ proverb that the exalted shall be humbled (Matt 23:12) taken effect so quickly! Despite denying Jesus three times during his passion, Peter is forgiven and restored by the risen Lord and continues to lead the early church until his martyrdom in Rome. In many ways the story of Peter should bring us hope. We also are not perfect disciples. We, too, will stumble and fall at times, and yet if we remain faithful, Jesus can use our lives to build up and strengthen his church.” (Living Liturgy 2020)

A quick reminder as always about following the rules of social distancing during this time in the church, and especially when approaching to receive the Blessed Sacrament. Please lower your face mask just before you are about to receive the Body of Christ from the ordinary minister of the Eucharist (a priest or deacon). Also, as we are often now reaching our capacity in the Chapel Hall, some of you may be seated in the Crying Room or even in the choir loft (east side) if necessary.

Please know that as always we will have the live-streamed Mass available to those who cannot be with us in person, starting with the Rosary at 8:30am and followed by Sunday Mass at 9am. Please click on the picture below.

God bless!
Fr. Mariusz

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