Pastor's Message

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, 15-16 June 2024

HS

JMJ

My Dear Fellow Saints-in-the-Making,

Greetings in Christ the Son of God the Father.

As Holy Mother Church celebrates the Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time, we hear God reveal through His Prophet Ezekiel what He has revealed throughout Sacred Scripture: that He reveals His glory through what the world neglects and disregards. 

Does He not select Israel to be a People peculiarly His own not only to free them from slavery in Egypt but also to decimate the Egyptian army? And does God not choose David to be King of Israel, even though David is the youngest of his brothers and a mere shepherd boy. Does He not select an obscure girl from an even more obscure village to become the Mother of the Son of the Most High God? And does not this Son, Jesus Christ, Who always fulfills the Will of the Father, take a little child in His arms and reveal that this little one is among the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?

In today’s first reading, He manifests once again how much He values what the world does not. God promises that He will take the tenderest shoot from the topmost branch of the mighty cedar so that it will become more majestic, more grand, and more towering than the cedar from which it was taken. But this in itself is remarkable, because God does not take a full branch; He simply takes the tiniest of shoots. Were we to try to root such a tender shoot, it would die. Even with root enzyme, a tender shoot will never grow roots nor take root. It needs first to become a branch of about half a foot long before the root enzyme can stimulate root growth. Anything smaller than that will never become anything greater. 

But God can take anything, no matter how insignificant or weak, and He—and He alone—can make it mightily strong.

What God is revealing through His Prophet Ezekiel is our growth in the spiritual life of faithful Christian discipleship. We begin very small indeed, usually as an infant, when we are baptized. Yet once baptized, we become adopted children of God the Father, are incorporated into the Body of Christ, and become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Already this little one, who cannot even speak nor walk nor do anything the world would generally consider impressively significant, is great in the Kingdom of Heaven, for because the baptized child is freed from Original Sin and because he or she does not have the intellectual understanding of what sin is, this little one cannot sin. That means until the age of reason, 7 years old, the baptized child can be rightly understood as a little saint.  No wonder Jesus insists that “unless you have the heart of a child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Because by our Baptism we become adopted daughters and sons of God the Father, we also celebrate Him as we remember with love and gratitude all fathers on this Father’s Day. Those fathers who follow God’s loving Fatherly example have taken their children, these little tender shoots, and placed them high on their shoulders holding them tightly but “lifting up the lowly tree” and letting them be taller than they could ever be on their own. Is this not what Our Father in Heaven does for us each time He provides the Sacraments for us? Does He not lift us up far higher than we could ever reach on our own? Indeed, how good and loving is our Provident Father!

Therefore, spend part of Father’s Day remembering God the Father.

As well as remembering Bishop Koenig, for it is precisely from today’s second reading from St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians that Bishop Koenig, the Tenth Bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington, selected his episcopal motto: We walk by faith. As he is, in a spiritual sense, the “father” of our Diocese, please remember him in your prayers this Father’s Day.

As Pastor and Father of this great blessing of my parish family, I thank you for letting me serve and provide for you. You are such an immense joy to me, and I thank God in so many ways and every day for you.

God love you! I do.

A blessed Father’s Day to all fathers.

Fr. Lewis

PS: Wednesday June 19 is Juneteenth, a national holiday. As is the custom at St. Jude The Apostle, daily Mass on every national holiday is at 9AM, an hour later than usual.

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Jesus must increase; I must decrease. John 3:30