We can see the signs of the fall all around us, especially as we notice that the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, and the cold weather is beginning to become a constant. This Sunday we celebrate the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time and ponder the question: Which commandment in the law is the greatest?
“There’s a saying, “When you boil the pot dry,” meant to refer to what’s left after all else goes away… “What’s the bottom line?” is another expression that captures the sentiment.
In Jesus’ day – when over 600 particular laws made up the totality of Mosaic Law, and a violation of one effectively meant a violation of the totality – the question posed to Jesus is seen as reasonable. Moreover, in the context of the larger story, Jesus had bested the chief priests, elders, disciples of the Pharisees, the Herodians, and the Sadducees; and now the Pharisees themselves are ready to take another turn. One of their number, a scholar of the law, becomes their mouthpiece. We should keep in mind that though the question seems perfectly legitimate on its face, the scholar was asking Jesus in order to test him.
That test doesn’t seem to bother Jesus, who responds by quoting Mosaic Law, first Deuteronomy 6:5 followed by Leviticus 19:18. It’s quite likely that Jesus himself was the first to combine these two commandments. For him, and for his disciples, these two commandments are the foundation of the law and the prophets. It’s what we have when we boil the pot dry. It’s the bottom line.
When we love God and love our neighbor, we are fulfilling the law. All of the law, the entirety of the more than 600 particular laws, are summed up in these two. For us today, we might think of something similar if one were to ask which is the most important teaching in the catechism, or which is the most important precept of the church. Perhaps a comparable question might be whether it is more important to tend to a sick relative or attend Mass? The answer sidesteps all these questions by saying the most important law is twofold: Love God and love your neighbor. With these as our guiding light, all else comes into focus.” (Living Liturgy 2020)
Last Sunday, students in Grade 3 from St. Agnes School received the sacrament of 1st Holy Communion. Congratulations to all of them on this occasion. Please pray for them, that they will receive this sacrament often and grow in their relationship with Christ. Also, a thank-you to the principal and teachers from St. Agnes who helped us to sanitize the pews after the 4pm Mass. This was our last celebration of 1st Communion this year. Starting this Sunday, the 4pm Mass is open to all, and since this is our smallest Mass in terms of attendance, please consider attending it.
Many parishes in our Diocese began their One Heart, One Soul Campaign last weekend. During the week many of our parishioners received a letter from the bishop and myself asking for your participation in helping us to raise funds needed to undertake two necessary projects at our parish (90% of total raised), as well as to assist struggling parishes in our Diocese (10% of total raised). I hope that you have had a chance to review the package that came with the letter. Some of you may have also received a phone call from our volunteers to talk further about the campaign. Because of the limited number of volunteers, we cannot call every parishioner, but I wish to invite you to participate in the campaign regardless. For the details about the campaign and to visit the website that has been designated to our parish specifically, please click here. At the Masses last Sunday, we showed the video about the campaign that was produced by our Diocese (Saturday 5:30pm had no sound unfortunately). If you haven’t seen it yet, please click here. We have also produced our own video that explains the details of the campaign at here at St. Francis Xavier Parish. To view it, please click here.
You’re invited to join us for Sunday Masses in person, but if you cannot at this time, then please click here to join us virtually for the live-streamed 9am Mass and the Rosary at 8:30am.