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“Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets!”  This is the wish Moses expressed in today’s First Reading, when Joshua reported to him that Eldad and Medad were prophesying when they had been chosen as elders, but had not been present for the commissioning ceremony.  Nevertheless the Spirit of God had descended upon them and they were prophesying.

Moses’ wish is fulfilled in us:  we have all been commissioned as prophets.  When an infant is baptized, the priest anoints the child’s head with sacred chrism, saying:  “As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.”  This anointing signifies the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which will be completed or sealed with the anointing with sacred chrism again in confirmation.  As members of Christ’s body, the Church, we share in his royal, prophetic priesthood.  It is our baptismal vocation to “prophesy” by proclaiming our faith in word and deed.

Faith is a way of life, a relationship with God.  When parents present children for baptism, they are exhorted to train them in the practice of the faith, and “to bring them up to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor.”  May we all be truly prophetic in our practice of the faith.

The consequences of not practicing our faith are presented in both our Second Reading and Gospel:  God will render a judgment of condemnation.  Faith is a gift; it is not to be squandered.  Two weeks ago Saint James taught us that faith without works is dead.  One who claims to be a believer but does not practice the faith will not live in the presence of God.  By contrast the servant of God who diligently keeps God’s precepts will be blameless, innocent and wise. (Cf. Responsorial Psalm)  If this is our goal in this world, it will be rewarded in the world to come.

This weekend we will witness the promise of the young people from our parishes who wish to be confirmed next May to prepare for this sacrament by attending Sunday Mass faithfully and by participating in our confirmation-preparation program.  At the same time we will pledge to support them by our prayers and example.  This will occur at the 9:00 Mass at St. Peter and the 10:30 Mass at St. Charles.  Confirmation is a sacrament of initiation or membership in the Church.  We are that Church and it is important for our confirmandi to see that they are a part of a vibrant and welcoming community of faith.

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 ten months and make a conscientious pledge today.  Thank you.

Bishop Callahan has asked that a second collection be taken up this month to assist Catholic Charities of the Diocese of La Crosse in the flood-relief efforts that are underway and very much needed in the southern counties of our diocese.  We are takingup that second collection at all the Masses this weekend.  Checks should be made payable to your parish and the funds will be forwarded to Catholic Charities.

Next Sunday, the first Sunday of October, is Respect Life Sunday in the United States.  You may wish to participate in the Life Chain next Sunday in Eau Claire from 2:30 to 4:00 PM.  Gather in the parking lot at Regis High School to receive signs, then stand in silent and prayerful witness to the dignity of human life along South Hastings Way.  More information is on the insert in this week’s bulletin.

So pray the Rosary this week for those preparing for confirmation this year.  Pray for the people in the southern part of our diocese and in the southeastern part of our country recovering from severe flooding.  Pray for the needs of the Church in our diocese and, as always, pray for peace.

May God bless his people with peace.

Monsignor Gorman