Pastor's Corner May 13 2018

Extra special occasion: Next Sunday we have an unusual event. Along with the tremendous blessing of 15 First Holy Communicants, we have two being Baptized and Confirmed. The baptism will happen between the morning Masses (9:45 am) and the Confirmation will take place immediately after the last gospel in the High Mass.

E-giving: We are forced to end our relationship with our current company as of June 30, 2018. In two weeks we are going to publish detailed instructions for a smooth switch to a new company. This will necessitate some effort on your part, to dismantle your current arrangements and establish new ones, for which we apologize. The hassle of switching may be worth it in the end: the new company promises better service. In sum: June will be a period of transition where both systems will work, and on July 1, only the new system will function.

Pendulum swings: There's a modern obsession with evil spirits. After the 1960's—and still in some quarters—they don't even exist; today—in some quarters—they're the explanation for everything. Neither position is correct, but there's a grain of truth in both. While it is clear that the truth is in the middle, it is not easy to describe what the middle is exactly. The extreme positions are attractive because they lend themselves to a comfortable and easy description.

Our Lord, in his Sermon on the Mount (Mt: 4, 5 and 6), makes no direct reference to evil spirits. This is significant. That said, the Lord's Prayer, taught to us in the same sermon, makes reference to evil: "deliver us from evil." The catechism says this can be interpreted as "deliver us from the evil one." Of course, both meanings are there. In this we see the middle ground approach: evil spirits are NOT central to the faith. Fighting them, however, is an important side issue, so we pray to be delivered.

Evil spirits are important in how they might affect us negatively. Since they are always around, we always make Catholic preparations against them. For instance, the prayer to St. Michael, or grace before meals. Pious practices completed, we don't obsess about evil spirits. Eve paid too much attention to the serpent. On the one hand the evil spirits wish to be ignored, so that their evil influence has greater effect. On the other hand, as their goal is to be worshipped and adored by all mankind, a time of grand revelation is also part of their strategy. We thwart the first design by believing in and fighting their presence, and we thwart the second by showing a healthy disrespect and refusal to be afraid.

What is central to the faith? The fatherhood of God and our adoption as his children, with everything which follows from this, including the spiritual motherhood of the BVM. Some people wish to fight evil spirits in order to receive greater worldly goods: ease, power, fame, prestige, money, etc. This wrong-headed motivation is seen even in the earliest days of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles.

How do we keep the right attitude? Some guideposts are the following: 1) We are our own worst enemy, not the evil spirits. 2) We have been given power over evil spirits, through our membership in the mystical body of the church—not to do "exorcisms" but to take control of our life through the ordinary means of salvation. 3) The sacraments are more important and powerful than sacramentals. 4) An ounce of prevention—both natural and supernatural—is worth a pound of cure. 5) Humility is the foundation of all genuine victories.

Thank you for your financial and material support of the parish. May God reward you.

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