I think it’s safe to say that we can all relate to today’s Gospel. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the day, Jesus tells Martha: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” How often do we find ourselves worrying without first sitting at the feet of Jesus? Sometimes we become so caught up in our own problems, we can’t see or listen to Jesus in our midst. Perhaps this week we may look and listen more carefully for the Risen Lord in our midst.
Thank you to those who have offered so many prayers and words of encouragement for me these last days. It was quite a surprise to all of us that only 3 days after becoming Pastor, a severe case of pneumonia would tie me down for several days. I’m grateful to you, Deacon Mike, our staff, and the priests who helped us while I was unable to offer ministry as I do. The problem hit me fast on the 4th of July. I was about an hour and a half away from Augusta when it hit me. Before I knew it, I was in Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids with a very high fever and very low blood pressure and oxygen levels. I spent a few days there as they pumped antibiotics into me and made sure I was well hydrated. Each day now I feel a little better; although I get “winded” pretty quickly. The doctors tell me I should not be “fooled” by feeling better… that it could be awhile before I get my energy back and fall out of the danger of pneumonia raging back. Many of you know I have had other health issues over the past few years so that didn’t help matters. But, I always remember that others have it much worse than I do, and I try and remember to offer my sicknesses up for those whose health is more difficult than mine!
Over time, you will hear me speak of Jesus as the “Master Teacher.” In a way, that’s what I try to do. I have found throughout the years that all Catholic Christians… from the “cradle Catholic” to those who turn today to the Church… have a desire to know more and more about our faith. I don’t believe in telling anyone what they “need” believe. Instead, I try to “teach” and “invite” people to explore every facet of our faith. To that end, and since we are early in our parish relationship together, I thought it might be good to teach a bit about part of the role of the pastor in a particular church such as ours.
According to Church law, a pastor serves as a co-worker with the Diocesan bishop and is obligated to be sure the faithful are instructed in the truths of the faith. He is to foster works through which the spirit of the gospel is promoted and is to have particular care for the Catholic education of children and youth. He is to make every effort, even with the collaboration of the Christian faithful, so that the message of the gospel comes also to those who have ceased the practice of their religion or do not profess the true faith. The pastor is to see to it that the Most Holy Eucharist is the center of the parish assembly of the faithful.
He is to work so that the Christian faithful are nourished through the devout celebration of the sacraments and, in a special way, that they frequently approach the sacraments of the Most Holy Eucharist and penance. He is also to endeavor that they are led to practice prayer even as families and take part consciously and actively in the sacred liturgy which, under the authority of the diocesan bishop, the pastor must direct in his own parish and is bound to watch over so that no abuses creep in.
The pastor listens to the counsel of both a Parish Council and a Parish Finance Council. While not decision-making bodies, they serve as consultative bodies and are important assets to examining the “large scheme” of the operation of the parish. The pastor holds the obligation to “teach, sanctify, and govern” the parish. Through collaborating with staff and parishioners, he holds a grave responsibility as he seeks to fulfill the obligations entrusted to him……..
Just a snapshot…. More next week! Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!