After visiting the tombs of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the Sisters, laywomen and Jesuit priests who were martyred in El Salvador, Archbishop Rembert Weakland said, “What set these people apart is that they stood for a kind of religion, a religious belief that influences lives. Religion for them was not a case of obeying rules but of influencing lives; that is very threatening to those who want to keep order. But if religion doesn’t influence lives, why bother with it?”
St. Paul shared a similar opinion in our second reading this weekend. Because his listeners in Thessalonica lived their faith with all their strength, Paul called them model believers who influenced the lives of others. The Thessalonians had themselves become evangelists by virtue of their lived example.
We at St. Gabriel’s must be less concerned with the letter of the law than with living the message of concern and justice that Jesus brought. Of the 613 Jewish laws, Jesus says the most important ones are to love God and love neighbor. The law was given to keep followers of God on the right path, but the law became more important than the people following it. Jesus reminds us that people are much more important than law. St. Paul follows Jesus by telling us that the law is not needed for those who follow Christ with open hearts and minds.
May our minds and hearts be open to the Lord this day and every day.
A member of our parish who is concerned about the parish’s financial stewardship has offered a grant to our parish. The details of the grant are these… it will be a gift of up to $400,000 in matching funds all given toward paying our parish mortgage. Starting in November, all debt reduction/ building fund contributions will be doubled for three months ending on May 1, 2015.
Please consider helping to lower our debt and help us get ready to build our permanent church facility by making a contribution to our ongoing mortgage payments. To help this along, the finance council has recommended that a monthly second collection be taken on the 2nd Sunday of every month. So, beginning on November 9, and every second Sunday following, the baskets will be passed twice. Kindly use your monthly “Debt Reduction” envelope for this collection.
As we move forward, this will greatly reduce our debt and help our operations budget as well. Since our mortgage payment is the same each month (approximately $30,000) we’ll have to take less and less out of operations to manage that mortgage. Please remember your generous response to God’s goodness in your life as you plan to support our parish. An easy way to manage your generosity is electronically through our “Faith Direct” program. For more information on Faith Direct, please go to our parish web site… www.stgacc.org.