Giving God What is God’s
What is Caesar’s? What is God’s? How do we answer this question in our lives today? What did Jesus imply in his answer to repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. What really belongs to God?
In just over a week, our St. Francis community will celebrate 25 years of ACTS (Adoration, Community, Theology, and Service). During these years, there have been over 75 adult retreat teams that have spent 13 weeks each time “getting their act together”—forming themselves, paying attention to how God is working in their lives, how the Holy Spirit is animating them to use their gifts for the sake of the community, and in praising and thanking God for who they are “becoming” as a result of these actions, these ACTS!
For each retreat that is given, there is an equal number of retreatants who experience God’s love both personally and intensely. Just listen to the hundreds of parish members who have attended. They will tell you boldly and loudly that we bear the image of God and are to give to God what is God’s—our lives.
In very real ways, this is our experience of identifying and proclaiming what is God’s! All we have is a gift from God. Each of us, conceived in love, is a gift from God in our very being. All that we become through all of God’s formative processes—our worship, our study, our prayer, our practice of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, our GIVING in every sense is acknowledging that all we have is a gift from God.
God’s work in our lives, God’s providential care is amazing and bounteous. For this, let us offer gratitude and praise. Let us be generous in our YES to using our gifts in service to others in our families, our vocations, our community, and our world!
Decorate your home for the holidays or surprise a friend or family member with the gift of a beautiful Christmas wreath from Boy Scout Troop 498. The Boy Scouts will be selling Christmas wreaths after Masses in the Gathering Space on October 21-22 and 28-29.
The Moms Ministry invites you to celebrate Halloween with Trunk or Treat in the church parking lot on Friday, October 27. Trunk or Treat is a fun alternative to traditional trick-or-treating for the entire family! Parents decorate the trunks of their cars and pass out candy or treats in a safe environment. Parents may also come in costume to join in on the fun! Parents should try to park their cars by 6 pm, and kids will start “treating” around 6:30 pm. For more information, call Diana Adams at 210-343-9832.
No Better Offer
Do you ever wait to RSVP to an invitation thinking that you might have a better offer? Even when the invitation is extended, I’ve had people ask me, “Would you come to our house for dinner with my family—unless you have a better offer?”
In this Sunday’s readings, there can be no better offer than the banquet Jesus proposes. Listen closely to all the banquet and feast language that is found in each of the readings. Imagine juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines, lavishness, abundance, goodness, and kindness. This festival language only begins to describe the fullness of life we will have in the presence of God, in God’s heavenly kingdom.
The invitation to the feast is extended each time we celebrate Eucharist. Our RSVP is both our presence, our expression of belief, and also a commitment to act. We are guests and we are also the ones doing the inviting. What happens to us, in our own conversion and transformation, becomes an invitation not only to stay on the path but also to invite others to enter the journey.
When Jesus says, “Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find,” Jesus is asking us to be inclusive at the table—to invite ALL. Jesus is asking us to enlarge the table, to make the circle expansive, to welcome those least expected to be participants.
This is our way of preparing for the ultimate banquet—the reign of God! Ven al banquete! Come to the feast! There is no better offer! Help us clothe ourselves with gratitude, generosity, and mercy.
We will celebrate 25 years of ACTS retreats at St. Francis of Assisi on Saturday, October 28 at the 5 pm Mass followed by a reception in Henke Hall. We invite you to wear your favorite ACTS shirt, ACTS cross, and old nametag. Childcare is available; please RSVP with the number of children needing childcare to the parish office. For more information, please contact Jody Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 210-643-5639.
Our book of remembrance will be in the Gathering Space beginning this weekend through November 5 for you to write only the names of loved ones who have died this year. All names submitted from previous years remain, so please do not rewrite names.
We will also have an altar of remembrance for pictures of your deceased loved ones. You can submit copies of your pictures to the parish office; all pictures will be discarded after All Souls’ Day.
Happy Feast Day!
Most of us know something about him. We always think of the blessing of animals, the love of creation, statues and birdbaths. Beyond that, we might think of selling all and living poverty, of a peacemaking journey to a Sultan, a brotherhood of men and what they learned from each other. Visiting Assisi reminds us of the need for quiet, for simplicity and for an intentional “building up of the church.” That building up for us today is our great desire to be bridge-builders—to risk being community with friends we do not know yet, those we might not ever imagine welcoming into our midst.
Our Franciscan sisters and brothers teach us additional values that are their way of life and that offer something for us to reflect on as well. They teach us about contemplation, poverty, and conversion. Francis’ conversion story is a radical “turning around” from a focus on riches and possessions to a complete following of Jesus. That meant deep study of Scripture, lots of return to simple ways of just being with nature, and a refocus on what matters if we are disciples of Jesus.
At St. Francis, we celebrate by remembering why our community, our church came to be. Read our mission statement; better yet, sing it with us on Sunday. And let your prayer and reflection, your intentions and your actions be a response to Francis’ example to us all. Happy Feast Day!
Our Parish Mission Statement
We, the parish family of St. Francis of Assisi, formed in 1980, are gifted with wisdom, productivity, and vitality. We are Sacramental people journeying toward our Christian mission to know, love, and serve Christ. To better know, love, and serve Christ, we strive to emulate our patron, St. Francis of Assisi by:
Focusing our greater concern on the building of our people, giving our time, talent, and treasures, in reaching out to others, and promoting peace and harmony within God’s creation.
The Nature of Obedience
These two common expressions sum up the Gospel parable we hear this weekend. Jesus is asking about the nature of obedience. Do we say “Yes” and then not do anything about it? Do we say “No” and then, upon mature reflection, decide that it really is the right thing to do? Who among the two is the obedient one?
Sometimes our reluctance, our hesitation to say YES might really be the right thing to do. And sometimes taking time to reflect and pray results in a YES that means something far more than we could have ever imagined!
Of the two sons (and yes today they could be daughters), which one needs to change? What counts more, saying some good words, or actually doing some good deeds?
Obedience is really about listening, about paying attention to the many “voices” and “choices” that influence us. Who of us has not said “No” and then relented and turned to God’s ways? God’s mercy calls each of us to do just that—turn to God’s ways of justice, mercy, compassion, and love.
Then we can truly live the words of the second reading: “…humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his (her) own interests, but also for those of others.”
The 2018 calendar for Mass intentions becomes available on Monday, September 25. Each intention is a $5 donation, and only three intentions per Mass are allowed. Mass intentions are only scheduled upon payment of the donation. Mass intention requests must be done in person through the front desk at the parish office.
Justice and God’s Generosity
Strict justice or outrageous generosity? You probably remember the parable of the workers in the vineyard. The workers come into the field at different hours of the day, all agreeing to work for the “usual daily wage.” They all want to work and they all want to be paid. This they all had in common.
But in the parable, at the end of the day, each gets paid the SAME amount, regardless of the hours they had worked. And here is where the grumbling begins. “These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.” Does this sound like anything you’ve ever experienced? Unfair?
We hear grumbling about some of the same kinds of issues today. They usually come about because of what we understand to be “entitlement.” Why should I pay for something if I am not using it? Why should others get benefits if they are not paying the same amount into the system? I worked hard to earn this money. And another claims to have worked even harder.
In the parable Jesus says, “My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?”
I have to really reflect hard on what would happen if God’s grace were doled out based on people’s rules rather than God’s ways. What if God’s ways were like our ways, if God’s outrageous generosity did not exceed the level of simple distributive justice?
I’m sure that each of us has at some time received great, undeserved generosity. How does that experience help us understand this parable? What does it mean when Jesus ends the parable with “The last will be first, and the first will be last”?
Sometimes God seems to act unfairly, but it is really God’s generous justice in action. Perhaps having a bit more of God’s generous nature would help us all be more just.