Fr. Stan’s Article

There’s a saying that Jesus “comforts the troubled and troubles the comfortable”. What we eventually discover when we follow Jesus is that we are changed. If being changed is the result of an encounter with Jesus, then we shouldn’t be too surprised to hear the words of today’s Gospel reading. Jesus wants to see the world on fire and declares that He has come to sow division. These words may seem to us as harsh and out of character for the One we may have first met as a baby at Bethlehem who angels declared as the prince of peace. Perhaps we think of Him as the teacher or good shepherd gently gathering all to His flock. Nonetheless, Jesus uses the image of fire that can both warm and destroy. Fire puts an end to sin and marks judgement, but it also declares God’s presence and purifies gold. There’s no doubt that what Jesus said and did upset some people to the point of their putting Him to death. Many of His followers suffered a similar fate. If we speak and act as Jesus did, we too can expect push-back, even from those close to us. Today’s Gospel is forcing me to recognize the change that He desires in me. What is He doing in you?

I’m grateful to all of you for the sacrifices you made on behalf of our guests from South Oakland Shelter this past week. This year our involvement included concern for a pregnant mom with two small children who was ready to give birth. The compassionate care that was provided should be the care every mother and child receives regardless of their economic or social condition. Such support speaks volumes about our respect for life. Let us continue to pray for the homeless, discuss the causes of homelessness, and accompany people who are seeking to find a place to call home. Perhaps such concern will bring the fire Jesus desires to melt the hearts of the cold and indifferent.

Our participation in the Reverse Mass Movement at St. Suzanne/Our Lady Gate of Heaven last weekend brought to our attention the crisis facing churches in Detroit with regard to their water bills. These new high water bills are not for more water usage, but rather to pay for rain water runoff into the sewage system. The more impermeable surfaces (parking lots and sidewalks) a church has, the higher the bill. Some of these new bills are in the thousands of dollars per month. Furthermore there is a question of whether the formula itself is fair. We hope to present a video explaining what seems to be water inequity.

Our Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) continues as we inch closer toward our parish target. Presently we’re at about 75% of our Archdiocesan goal with about 100 active parish families yet to respond. Thank you to those who have made pledges or donations thus far. Envelopes for your donations are available in the narthex and the parish office.

Peace and joy,
Fr. Stan Ulman