We have a beautiful passage from Saint Paul’s second letter to Timothy in today’s second reading. “Beloved: I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.” Paul wrote three personal letters which are contained in the New Testament – two to Timothy, and one to Titus – which scholars refer to as the “Pastoral letters”, since they contain instructions on how to be good shepherds (pastores in Latin) for Christ’s flock, the Church. This passage recalls how Timothy was ordained to be the bishop to the Church in Ephesus: by the laying on of hands. These three letters – and in a special way, this passage – remain an excellent reminder for all ordained ministers: deacons, priests, and bishops; and a source of encouragement for them in difficult times. We continue to experience the suffering in the Church in the United States brought about by the reported instances of priestly sexual abuse and misconduct in 2002 (and subsequently). Though the instances of such abuse in our Diocese have been fewer than in other dioceses, they still constitute a grave harm to the victims and to the whole Church. And the burdens of pastoral ministry, which are already great because of the shortage of priests, were increased because of this public scandal. And yet, this has also brought about needed purification in the Church. The young men responding to the call to the priesthood seem more intent upon embracing a way of life which gives clear witness to their love of the Catholic Faith and fidelity to the demands of the priestly life. Please pray for our diocesan seminarians, especially for Jared Clements and Isaac Pecha ordained Deacons in Rome this past Thursday. And pray for our Bishop, William Callahan, and all our priests (including your pastor!), that they may “stir into flame the gift of God” which they received at their ordination, and that God will strengthen them to be faithful shepherds of Christ’s flock.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has stated, “The promotion of the practice of stewardship is important for the mission of the Church and for the spiritual well -being of each individual Christian. Everyone benefits from the sacrificial gift one makes of his time, talent and treasure.” How do you share your gifts? Do you do it consistently?
I welcome Fr. Paul Farin from Cross Catholic Outreach to our parish. He is here this weekend on behalf of the poor in developing countries.
May God bless you!