Weekly Bulletin and Mass Intentions

Weekly Announcements
Month of the Holy Angels

  1. Volunteers are needed for the Food Pantry on the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays and Wednesdays of the month from 10am – 2pm. We will have the food pantry September 25/26 and October 9/10.
  2. We are still in need of various projects to be done or completed. If you have maintenance skills, please see Father to assist. We want to re-do the floor of the sanctuary and the nave.
  3. On Wednesdays at 6:00pm there is the weekly Church gathering where there will be the opportunity to join in discussions of the Catholic Faith, History and Sacred Scripture. Everyone is invited. Adults preparing for Sacraments must attend.
  4. Race for Life: Please support Jerry Helberg and Esther Barrasso in raising funds for the Women’s Resource Center in helping our young mothers.
  5. Life is Beautiful—Make sure you take 9th Street from Bonanza. East or West. There will be plenty of parking.

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
Rev. Pius Parsch

As has already been pointed out, the past two Sundays together with the present seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost are transitional from summer to autumn; and therefore they exhibit characteristics of both seasons. Beginning with the seventh Sunday after Pentecost, the major and most frequently recurring theme consisted in the antithesis between the flesh and the spirit, between the world and God. During the approaching fall and winter phase of the Church year, emphasis will lie on preparation and expectation for the Lord's Second Advent. Let us analyze these strains more closely.

Text Analysis. The Summer Theme. Ever since Adam's sin, disorder and conflict have wearied the soul of man. Original sin takes its toll - and this is what St. Paul refers to by the term flesh, Christ endowed us with another principle of action, and Paul calls this spirit. "Spirit" consists primarily in the manifold supernatural gifts granted us by God. It was not part of the divine plan to restore paradise to us as such. Earth would continue to be the battleground between good and evil, the stage for the holy war of which Christ said: "I did not come to bring peace, but the sword." The Christian, therefore, must be a soldier—this line of thought was developed in the liturgy on summer Sundays. His struggle continues all during life, with light and darkness, spirit and flesh constantly at odds. God's side will not always emerge with flying banners, and there will be some major disasters. But final victory will be ours. Today's Mass gives a preview of the aftermath, when it no longer will be a matter of opposing parties but of peaceful unity. The peculiar beauty of our formulary is its clear picture of the compelling unity of our holy religion: unity in faith, unity in morals, unity in grace and worship. One Christ, one Church, one Love. The wonderful sevenfold oneness of the Church is seen through the prism light of the Epistle; one Body, it is enlivened by one Spirit and strives for a single goal, heaven. That Body has a single head, Christ; one faith enlightens us, and but one sacramental order sanctifies us from baptism to our last anointing. While above all reigns God, our only Father! With bowed heads we stand in reverential fear before this awesome unity, a oneness into which we have been immersed and by which we have been assimilated. Are we then to continue vacillating between spirit and flesh? The Gradual, perfectly fulfilling its function of echoing the Epistle, places the proper words on our lips: "How fortunate is the nation for whom Yahweh is God, how fortunate the people whom He has chosen as His inheritance." The Collect outlines the way to attain the good fortune of such blessed unity: avoid all contact with the devil and practice perfect obedience to the only God.

From another approach, that of the Gospel, the oneness of our holy religion is due to Christ and to supernatural charity. Christ stands at the center of our faith. One of the objectives of the liturgical apostolate is to restore a Christocentric outlook. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Both the Epistle and Gospel contain memorable words on the virtue of charity. "Bear with one another in love, anxious to preserve the unity of the spirit by means of the bond of peace." "You must love Yahweh, your God, with your whole heart. . . . You must love your neighbor as yourself." It was toward the realization of such earth-transcending unity through the Church, through Christ, through love that the liturgy of the summer Sundays was oriented.

The Church's Harvest Time. The Christ-picture unfolded before us in today's liturgy is set against the background of harvest time in the year of grace: "Christ enthroned at God's right hand until He makes His enemies His footstool." It is a fearsome scene, embracing the whole of world history and the Last Judgment. Serene and calm Christ sits as King and abides the time till He may place His foot upon the neck of every foe. Unto the proud and stubborn He "stands in dreadful magnificence; He breaks the obstinacy of princes and strikes down with fear all the kings of the earth" (Comm.). Upon the docile "beams the light of His countenance from the sanctuary; and He turns mercifully toward the people upon whom His Name is invoked" (Off.). How well this passage pinpoints the purpose and nature of holy Mass.

Holy Mass (Justus es). Today's liturgical mood is not quite as heavy and depressing as last Sunday's; there is a greater sense of calm and composure arising from the knowledge that all human suffering forms part of God's just judgment; and the Church pleads for mercy (Intr.). As her obedient children, our great endeavor is to walk "undefiled in the way of the Lord," to "follow God alone with a pure mind" and to "avoid the diabolical contagion" of sin (Coll.). (Note the words, via, ambulant, sectari, ambuletis—life is a pilgrimage.) The Apostle of the Gentiles stands before us "in his chains" and entreats us "to walk worthy of our Christian vocation in humility and meekness, in patience and charity, ever anxious to maintain the bond of unity and peace" (Epist.). Mother Church is greatly concerned over keeping these ideals alive in her children's hearts; for this end she seeks to impress us by unveiling before our spiritual eyes the profound sevenfold oneness that is hers: (1) one body, Head and members, (2) enlivened by one Holy Spirit, (3) having one common goal, heaven, (4) one Lord, Christ Jesus, (5) one common faith, (6) unified by the same sacraments (baptism, Eucharist), and (7) governed by one common Father in heaven. What mighty motives for peace and harmony in one's own soul and among all mankind! Every Christian should reflect this unity, should strive constantly to exemplify it, because it alone can transform us into the "blessed nation that He has chosen as His inheritance" (Grad.), a people whose strength is the Triune God.

From this thought of the earthly Church united in Christ, it is but a small step to the heavenly Sion; therefore the Alleluia verse is a maranatha, a longing cry to be at home with Christ (the whole of Psalm 101 could be interpreted as the outburst of a homesick soul in exile). The Master Himself speaks of the great law of love of God and neighbor in the Gospel. But we must limit ourselves to its principal feature, the 109th psalm, which is prayed so often in the liturgy. This psalm adumbrated the Messiah as God's eternal Son sharing the royal throne with the Almighty on High; furthermore, it has afforded the liturgy a Christ-picture which may still be seen portrayed in richest colors in the apses of ancient basilicas. The liturgical thought—content of the Gospel may be summed up thus: in the midst of persecutions, in the soul's dark night, the Church (individual members too) glances longingly upward toward her glorified Lord at the Father's right, waiting for Him to subdue all enemies. Since our glorified Lord is very near during the holy Sacrifice, we keep in mind this Gospel scene, and during the Offertory procession we petition Him to "look favorably upon His sanctuary and upon His people" at His Second Coming and also now during the holy Sacrifice because holy Mass is the parousia anticipated. In the Communion too the Lord appears in glory, annihilating all enemies (the entire psalm would fit wonderfully well here). Secret and Postcommunion plead for the remission of sin. A discerning eye would quickly perceive references to "The Returning King" throughout the Mass. Introit: the just and merciful Judge; Collect: following in His train; Gradual: Creator, King; Alleluia: parousia prayer; Gospel: at the Father's right hand; Offertory: let Your face shine upon us; Communion: awe-inspiring, glorious One!

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