From Father's Desk

Dear Parish Family,

This weekend marks the official “tourist” end of summer. Although the beaches in September are glorious and summer extends to the 22nd! The summer of COVID 19 has come to an end. We are now moving into the school year, whatever THAT means THIS year . No matter what that means, it is time to get back into a different rhythm of life. That new rhythm may prove especially challenging to enact, if everyone is still home as if it is still summer.

To assist with that transition, next week we will begin a new Message Series on Home Life . We have all been spending more time at home and it looks like we will be spending more time there for the next year. It is time to think and pray more deeply about how to make home a place of rejuvenation, peace and joy.

In some ways, the Gospel assists us to get underway by offering a systematic practice for fraternal correction. Correction is nobody’s favorite thing, neither receiving nor giving correction to those we love. The existence of this teaching shows us two things: first, the need for correcting errors in the community, and second, that the process in place needed some attention. The sage wisdom, now avant garde in corporate America, “praise in public, correct in private,” may have begun right here in the Gospel with Jesus.

So, begin in private… person to person. In our homes it may be challenging to pause and take one family member aside to remind them not to leave laundry half done in the machine, or dishes in the sink, or…. whatever! It is easier just to shout, “Who left their dishes in the sink!” Or, “If I have to tell you one more time…” These types of correction can feel very satisfying for the one who gets to shout them, but often they do not effect behavior change. (You know of what I speak;)!

Jesus does not offer a particular method here of HOW to explain the error of your brother, but we know from elsewhere to do so with kindness and gentleness. It helps to place ourselves in the perspective of the other, “To walk a mile in another man’s moccasins,” to cite another ol’ timey cliche.

With the increased stress and anxiety all around right now, extra gentleness, patience and kindness are surely in order. For those seeking behavior change in our homes, we might ask ourselves, “How important is it?”

If the person in need of correction does not see the error of his or her ways, the team grows, and when it reaches the level of the community, the consequences heighten as well. If the error is not addressed, the community has the power to expel the offender. This reminds me of one evening when my brother and I were fighting as teens. Mom made both of us go sleep over a friend’s house! She kicked us out! Being stubborn and incorrigible has consequences. Thanks Mom!

After Jesus offers these lessons, he encourages communal prayer. Praying together strengthens the bonds of love that connect us. Prayer connects us to each other and to God, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received regarding correction: before you do it, pray about it.

I lift you up in prayer and invite you to do the same for me and for our whole parish family.

Yours sincerely,
Fr. Wilson