Fr. Stan’s Article

There’s the joke about what you would like to hear people say about you as they gather around your casket.  Some would like to hear “He was a good man!” or “She was a great teacher!”  One person responded that he’d like to hear them say “He’s alive!”

Since there’s more to our lives than just dying, I hope we can take time to reflect on our purpose and mission in life.  As disciples of Jesus we believe that our mission in life is to love as He loved.  Jesus models for us what love of God and neighbor means. He demonstrates for us mercy, compassion, kindness and self-sacrifice and directs us to be as holy as God the Father is holy. If we are faithful followers of Jesus this will become our lifelong task: to grow in holiness. We must strive daily to be the best version of ourselves.

In today’s Gospel passage Jesus turns our expectations of life upside down.  The poor, the hungry, the sorrowful and the oppressed are blessed while the rich, the satiated, the laughing and the well-respected are pitied. What matters in life according to Jesus is not what we have but who we need and trust. In Luke’s Gospel Jesus is shown coming down the mountain to be with both Jews and Gentiles. He associates especially with those who are considered less than desirable. He pities the rich and powerful because they act self-righteously and without need of anyone, let alone a Lord and Savior. He warns us that material things can lead us away from God and others. His message truly comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable.  How do His words affect us?

I was delighted to see so many couples last week celebrating milestone wedding anniversaries at the 11:00 AM Mass. While the couples were having their pictures taken following Mass, I observed how many resembled each other. There’s a study out of U of M that indicates that people who gaze upon each other over a course of time take on each other’s’ facial expressions. Love and time together mold our very faces.  Our parish marriage programs hope to strengthen the bonds between all our couples.

Please consider being part of our Lenten Journey program that begins next month after Ash Wednesday. Registration forms are available at the coffee bar or on-line at smoth.org.

Peace and joy,

Fr. Stan Ulman