In each of today’s scripture readings, God reveals his mercy toward us. What appears to be Moses’ persuasion of God to spare his sinful people from punishment is God’s way of showing us that he is willing to forgive even those deserving punishment. Saint Paul confesses to Timothy his former life as a persecutor of the Church and thanks God for his abundant, forgiving grace through which Paul became first a disciple, and then an apostle and evangelist. Jesus tells three parables in the gospel which speak of God’s joy whenever a sinner repents. In the responsorial psalm, using the words of King David as he repented of the sin of adultery, we express our confidence in God’s mercy as we acknowledge our own guilt and need of forgiveness.
God really does it all for us, doesn’t he? Not only does he keep constant watch for the errant sinner, he has even paid the price for our sins. The crucifix is the best reminder of this. The sacraments, particularly baptism, penance and the eucharist, are the conduits of our Lord’s abundant grace. We should not be afraid to make use of these means God has given us in the Church to turn away from sin, to be forgiven and to live in God’s good graces. “A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.” (Responsorial Psalm) Pray and meditate on Psalm 51 today and allow God’s grace, which invites the sinner to reconciliation as it promises forgiveness, to bring joy to your heart and peace to your soul.
Our redemption came at no small cost. This week, on September 14, we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. “To exalt” is “to lift up.” This feast celebrates Jesus being lifted up in sacrifice on the cross, but also the victory over sin and death that was manifest in his resurrection. Now we “lift high the cross,” because God “placed the salvation of the human race on the wood of the Cross, so that, where death arose, life might again spring forth and the evil one, who conquered on a tree, might likewise on a tree be conquered.” (Preface for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross)
This week you should receive in the mail pledge cards for the Diocesan Annual Appeal. We are kicking off this year’s appeal this weekend. Please consider pledging at least as much as you did last year. This target year’s target for St. Charles is $68,841, an increase of $1,472 over last year; and for St. Peter is $20,559, an increase of $1,869 over last year.
If you have not given to the appeal in the past, please consider a gift of $25 or $50. We all have a responsibility to contribute to the support of the larger Church in our diocese, our country and throughout the world. If you cannot make a financial contribution, please consider a pledge to pray daily for the needs of the Church—especially for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, for married people and their families, for Christians around the world being persecuted because of their faith. Together we can do so much.
Pray the Rosary for people serving in the armed services from our area. Pray for families, especially those with members who are homeless, unemployed, disabled, ill or estranged. Pray for the leaders of our nation as they ponder the issues of our day and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.