From Our Pastor: 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time
This weekend we continue the Bread of Life Discourse. They begin to murmur against Jesus and truly begin to struggle with the real presence of the Eucharist that Jesus is speaking of in the Gospel. The pew polls of Church-going Catholics (not fallen away Catholics) states that 70% of Catholics don’t believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This isn’t the idea that they struggle or its difficult, but that they don’t believe.
We can see this evident though in people who just don’t seem to get it. They don’t get it evidenced by their behavior. If you fall in these categories, don’t get mad, but instead challenge yourself to open your mind and heart and soul to the Eucharistic Christ.
Let’s start with the easy one of chewing gum. My biggest pet peeve. We don’t chew Jesus into our gum. We be respectful that Church is something and somewhere that requires different behavior than the rest of our lives. And yes, if we really believe it is Jesus in the Eucharist how could we chew Him into our gum and be ok with it. I think often the reality is we don’t think about it, and really, we just don’t check in with what truly takes place at Mass.
We see this evidenced by not fasting an hour before Mass in general to prepare ourselves for the reception of Jesus in the Eucharist. Every so often I will be asked, can I bring coffee or soda or why don’t we have a concession stand or coffee bar at our Church. The reason is again this is something and somewhere that requires different behavior than the rest of our lives. BUT most especially these would break the fast that we are called to do one hour before the reception of the Eucharist every time we receive Him. Water is always acceptable, but nothing more, except maybe a cough drop if necessary as it would be a medicinal reason.
When I arrived, I was very excited to NOT see the problem of leaving Mass early. In the last couple of months though this has become an issue. If we leave mass early, we really are missing WHO it is we have just received. This is the most intimate moment in our lives with the Lord except when He receives us into Himself, but this intimate moment of receiving Him into our selves prepares us for our death. Taking Jesus in communion and walking straight out the door means we are not checking into the reality of who it is we receive and what the mass is. Kneel and praise God for the immensity of receiving the Eucharist and then stay for the blessing that we all need to get through the week.
We do NOT leave mass before the priest walks down the aisle for ANY reason, outside an emergency. If we think we must leave mass early for any reason we must speak to the pastor about our reasoning. If it is to get to our car first or out of the parking lot first, then that is not an acceptable reason. If it is because it takes me longer to get to the car because of my age or how slow I walk, that is not a reason to leave early. In fact, I would say it’s a perfect reason to stay and walk out with everyone, so we aren’t risking leaving and not having anyone around to help us if we needed.
Take the 5 more minutes to finish the mass. I hear every so often well mass took too long, then our priorities are out of line. Fix those priorities by staying until the priest walks down the aisle. Fix those priorities by speaking to those around you after mass is over, seeing the gift of community and maybe greeting someone you may not know or haven’t seen before. If we struggle with these things above, take this opportunity not to get upset or say well then, I should just leave, but instead seem them as a challenge and opportunity to change our habits to help us change our hearts.
Let us not grumble against Jesus and the belief in the real presence. Let our behavior communicate our true belief and if we struggle with that belief, then let our behavior begin to change our mindset, and open our hearts to make Jesus and His real presence our greatest priority.
It’s exciting looking at many of our construction projects begin to be completed. Thank you to Justin Vonderhaar of our parish for his family legacy and company’s continued work on the masonry of our parish property. Continued thanks to Drew Niemann of our parish for the work on our street closure. Thank you to Diamond construction for their great work on our parking lot on the west side of 17th street. I finally heard an update on the statue we ordered, that it is supposed to FINALLY arrive around August 15. There have been many delays, let us call upon St. Anthony to please pray for this statue delay to cease! Many exciting things are happening here at St. Francis.
With that said, I share some truly exciting news. This weekend at all the masses we will announce that Bishop Thomas John Paprocki has asked if I would take another vicar. I gladly said yes. He has appointed Fr. Rafal Pyrchla as a second parochial vicar here at St. Francis Solanus! This doesn’t mean any changes with Fr. David Beagles, he is sticking around as well. This is in addition.
How very exciting it will be to have Fr. Rafal Pyrchla with us to serve here. He was born and raised in Poland, ordained a priest on May 27, 2017, and is 35 years old! His English is excellent, but of course accents do take some adjusting to, so please be patient and kind and welcoming. I am very excited for this opportunity for us as a parish! Please pray for Fr. Rafal Pyrchla as he moves in this week and officially begins his appointment August 11. Please welcome him as you have Fr. David and I. May God bless Fr. Rafal Pyrchla in his ministry here. We have so much to be grateful to the Lord for His goodness to us in having another vicar here at St. Francis Solanus!
-Rev. Steven Arisman