R.S.V.P.

Dear Parishioners,

I'd like to share the following poem with you. Its title is “The Invitation”:

You’re invited to come dine with me,

From now through all eternity.

Believe in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,

and dine with Jesus as your host.

To live in heaven eternally,

all you must do is R.S.V.P.

 

Now this is obviously an invitation to all of us . . . to one day live with God our Father in heaven. The end of the poem says, “All you must do is R.S.V.P.” How do we do this? How do we tell God we accept His invitation for eternal life?

We answer God all the time. We let God know we accept His invitation by the way we live our life, by following His Will.

The king in today’s gospel is upset because he is planning a wedding feast and no one is accepting his invitation. The king in this parable represents God. The people not accepting his invitation represent sinful people who don’t follow God’s Will.

By hearing God’s Word and practicing His teaching, we are following God’s Will. In this way, we are preparing ourselves for the gift of eternal life.

God is inviting every one of us to live with Him in heaven. As the poem says, all we must do is R.S.V.P.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Stories

Dear Parishioners,

Storytelling has been popular ever since human beings learned to put words together to form sentences. Few ancient people were able to read or write. Whenever they wanted to teach something important, they made up a story about it. This made the teaching not only easy to learn but easy to remember.

Jesus probably told more stories than most people. His stories are called parables. Today’s parable of the vineyard owner is a good example of this. Jesus directed it primarily to the religious leaders of Israel.

This parable teaches us that God is patient with us, but we will still be held accountable on the last day. In the parable, the vineyard owner made three efforts to get the tenant farmers to change their ways. God our Father is also patient with us. By turning away from sin and following God’s Will, we prepare ourselves for the day of judgment and the gift of eternal life.

I’d like to close with a prayerful thought by paraphrasing lyrics of a song written years ago by Richard Wilson:

 

Jesus was the storytelling kind,

He painted pictures in the mind.

It was how He showed people,

like you and me,

the way things were supposed to be.

 

He used the sky.

He used the sea.

He used the birds.

He used the tree.

He used whatever He could see.

 

Storytelling?

Yes, Jesus was the storytelling kind.

He painted pictures in the mind.

It was the way He showed people,

like you and me,

the way things were supposed to be.

 

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Conversion

Dear Parishioners,

In his best-selling spiritual autobiography, The Seven Story Mountain, Thomas Merton describes the first step in his conversion process.

He had just graduated from high school, was traveling alone in Europe and was living a rather flashy life. One night, in his room, he was struck with an awareness of his sinfulness. He writes:

“The whole thing passed in a flash. . . . I was overwhelmed with a sudden and profound insight into the misery and corruption of my own soul. . . . I was filled with horror at what I saw . . . and my soul desired escape . . . from all this with an intensity and an urgency unlike anything I had ever known before.”

Merton goes on to say that for the first time in his life he prayed – really prayed. He prayed to the God he had never known to reach down from heaven and free him from the evil power that held his body and soul in slavery.

The story of Thomas Merton illustrates the kind of change of heart the younger son had in today’s gospel. When we turn away from sin and open our hearts to God, we experience conversion.

The following prayer calls us to conversion:

Voice of Jesus, call to us

when we stray too far from you.

Eyes of Jesus, smile upon us

when we need encouragement.

Hands of Jesus, anoint us

when we grow weak and weary.

Arms of Jesus, lift us up

when we stumble and fall.

Heart of Jesus,

help us love one another

as you have loved us.

 

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Great Picnic!

Dear Parishioners,

Last Sunday was the Parish Picnic here at St. Joseph Church. Many of you came out to enjoy good food and to spend time as a parish community.

I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the picnic; those who organized it, prepared for it, assisted, did the cooking, and those who helped clean up. I would also like to thank all of you who attended so we could enjoy a beautiful day together.

The day was a wonderful opportunity for all of us to socialize. It was an enjoyable event, and there will be many more to come.

With the summer ending, there are many activities we look forward to in the upcoming year. This will give us more opportunity to come together and grow as a parish family.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Forgiveness

Dear Parishioners,

It is pointless to number the amount of times we should forgive one another. Jesus points out to us in today’s gospel what is important – that we each forgive from our “heart.” Where sin and offense show a lack of respect for our neighbor and for God, forgiveness and reconciliation restore what was lost.

With forgiveness, it is within the power of those who have been offended to reconcile and to heal. The offender can ask for forgiveness and the offended can grant it, but both must be sincere for them to be truly reconciled. Jesus teaches us that when we forgive from the heart, we are reconciled with ourselves, with one another and with God.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Groups and His Presence

Dear Parishioners,

George Anderson was a chaplain at New York’s Riker’s Island prison. One night he was praying with a small group of prisoners over the story of the Good Samaritan.

One of the prisoners, whose name was Richard, was present for the first time. The room was cold and Richard was wrapped in two blankets. The prisoner opposite him was shivering. At one point while the group was praying in silence, Richard suddenly got up, went over to the shivering man and put a blanket around him.

Richard’s silent action witnessed not only to Jesus’s words about loving others, but also to Jesus’s presence among us when we gather in His name.

Can I recall a time when I felt moved by Jesus’s words or His presence in a group?

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

God's Blessings and Care

Dear Parishioners,

It’s already Labor Day! The summer has flown by! We’ve enjoyed the summer in many different ways. Students were on vacation from school. Many of us use this time of year to take a vacation and enjoy some free time.

Some of us may have traveled during the summer, gone to the shore or enjoyed a swimming pool. Summer always gives us the opportunity to take a break from routine and enjoy time with family and friends.

Now it’s time to go back to school or work. The vacation season is coming to an end. Hopefully we go back feeling refreshed.

As always, we want to thank God for His Blessings, for watching over us as we enjoyed our summer. We also want to ask God to continue to watch over us as we move along into the upcoming year.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Building and Teaching

Dear Parishioners,

When we come to church, we thank God for His many gifts as we listen to His Word. When we leave church, we want to take God’s Word with us. This is how we help build God’s Kingdom here on earth.

By our prayer life, we help build God’s Church. By our faithfulness to the liturgy and by following the Lord’s message of love, we’re helping to build God’s Kingdom here on earth.

We can also pass on the Lord’s teaching. When we follow the Lord’s message of love, we’re passing His Word on to one another. When our faith is represented by the way we live our lives, we’re spreading the gospel message.

God calls each of us to be His disciples. As we grow in our relationship with God and stay true to following His Message, we, too, can pass on the Lord’s teachings and build God’s Kingdom here on earth.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick