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.
This third Sunday of September is Catechetical Sunday. We are blessing and commissioning the catechists from St. Peter Parish at the 9:00 Mass and those from St. Charles Parish at the 10:30 Mass. Thanks to all who take up this vital ministry of helping our young people to understand and appreciate better the mysteries of our faith. In doing so they are helping parents who have the primary responsibility of raising their children in the practice of the faith. Parents are reminded of this in the rite of baptism when they present their children for baptism. The practice of the faith begins in the home; it is nurtured by family prayer and participation in the sacraments, especially Sunday Mass and regular confession; and it is fostered by formal instruction in the Catholic school or religious education program.
At 4:00 this Sunday afternoon St. Peter’s Elizabeth Ministry is sponsoring its annual service remembering children who were lost whether before or after birth. It is always held on the Sunday nearest the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, September 15. The greatest sorrow of any parent is the loss of a child, no matter at what age. Mary stood at the foot of the cross and witnessed her Son’s agonizing death, but she would receive him back again in his resurrection. Today we seek the consolation of her prayers and of our faith as we grieve for children lost but not forgotten, with whom we hope to be reunited in the life to come.
Pray the rosary this week for our catechists who teach religion in our Catholic schools or religious education programs. Pray for the young people whose religious formation is nurtured in these programs. Pray for the people affected or displaced by Hurricane Dorian; and for the agencies, workers and volunteers working to help them.
May God bless his people with peace.