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Fr. Mark’s Desk - February 17, 2019
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours…
But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.”

Dear Parishioners,

In the Gospel of Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount contains the Beatitudes as we are accustomed. The Beatitudes were written for the disciples and the crowd and was intended to emulate Moses coming down the mountain with the Commandments. In the Gospel of Luke, the Beatitudes are altered and intended primarily for the disciples. In Luke’s version, there are the ‘woe’ statements which are not contained in Matthew’s version. By the time Luke was writing his Gospel, the Church had begun and disciples were becoming or were already leaders in the Church. Luke and St. Paul would become friends. As in any leadership, the ‘heart’ of the leader must be in the right place. In the case of the Christian leader, the ‘heart’ must be the heart of Jesus. So, it is likely that the Church of Luke’s time is seeing some Christian leaders acting with self-interest, rather than focusing on Christ. In the Old Testament, shepherds of people were held in high regard and were to be people of high virtue. The prophets would often issue ‘woe’ statements to those, especially leaders, who were acting in a way contrary to God’s will. It was clear in the Old Testament that failure to keep God’s commandments would result in a curse rather than a blessing. So, when we see in Luke’s Gospel the introduction of ‘woe’ statements, it would remind the disciples of their need to act righteously. It is a good test, I think, when life seems to be ‘cursing’ us, as individual or as a church or society, to ask the question, ‘Am I / we being obedient to God’s word?’ For those who live their lives in obedience and receive blessings, “Rejoice and leap for joy… your reward will be great in heaven”.

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As you know, last weekend I gave the Annual Catholic Appeal. I did it a week earlier than a lot of parishes mostly because I will not be here all morning this Sunday. The envelopes provided by the Archdiocese are in the pews and may be turned into the collection basket, if you have not already made your pledge. These are difficult times in the life of the church. The disobedience and unfaithfulness of members of the clergy have brought a curse which unfortunately we all endure. But, that does not diminish what Christ has done for us, He alone is our salvation!! Thank you for your faithfulness to Christ, St. Linus, and the Church.

Have a great week!
Father Mark Walter

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