Some verses from today’s Responsorial Psalm contain the plea, “Give us new life, and we will call upon your name…if your face shine upon us, then we shall be saved.” October always begins with Respect Life Sunday and follows our diocesan observance of Rural Life Day (the fourth Wednesday of September). God is the source of life for all that lives and the source of eternal life for us. To us he has entrusted the stewardship of creation and care for one another. The Opening Prayer for the Mass on Rural Life Day, after thanking God “for the fruits that earth has given,” prayed that: “as the working of your supreme providence has produced them, so you may cause the seed of justice and the fruits of charity to spring up in our hearts.”
In today’s First Reading, Responsorial Psalm and Gospel, the image of the vine grower and his vineyard is a metaphor for the relationship of God to his people. It is with loving care that he tends us and sees to our needs, but he expects us to respond and bear fruit. We are to bear the fruit of “charity and justice.” God gives us the capability; we need to respond in faith. Standing up for the rights of the defenseless unborn, for the disabled, for the elderly, for those unable to defend or care for themselves, is a basic obligation in justice. Sharing our gifts, as we have in various charitable relief efforts and as we must in the Diocesan Annual Appeal, are basic obligations in charity. Gratitude to God for life, the fruits of the earth and the gift of redemption, is a basic obligation in faith.
Day in and day out God gives us new life. Through the death and resurrection of his Son, he offers us eternal life. Let us never cease to call upon his name in praise and thanksgiving, and think about “whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely [and] gracious.…Then the God of peace will be with you.” (Second Reading)
Last weekend we announced the Diocesan Annual Appeal for the coming year. You will be receiving in the mail the information about what the Appeal supports and why it is important. Although the targets for both our parishes are lower than last year’s, they still require us all to participate to meet them. Last year both parishes met their targets, but because of the generosity of some last-minute donors. The number of donors from both parishes was less than the year before. Let’s all get on the wagon early, make responsible pledges, and reach our targets early! We can easily do it if every household participates. Take time to watch Bishop Callahan’s message for the Appeal at <diolc.org/stewardship>.
All of us are beneficiaries of the Church’s ministries and apostolates. With gratitude for what we have been given, and aware of our obligation to support our brothers and sisters, let us each consider carefully what we can give to the Diocesan Annual Appeal over the next nine months and make a pledge today. Thank you.
October is the month of the rosary. It is a great family prayer. Pray the rosary this week for new deacons Timothy Reither and Eric Mashak; for a greater respect for human life and dignity; for the legal protection of all life, from its beginning at conception and throughout its natural course; for married couples and their families; and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.