September 10, 2017: Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Pastor’s Corner
Brothers and sisters: Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments are summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)
Hurricane Harvey is one of the most destructive natural disasters in North America in the last hundred years. The rainfall is measured not in the billions, but in the trillions of gallons, easily more rain than Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy combined. Lives have been lost and thousands have been displaced from their homes. The economic losses will be measured in the billions.
Amid this disaster, I have been edified to hear of stories of heroism. First responders, the Coast Guard and other military launched more than 16,000 rescues in those early dangerous hours. But particularly noteworthy have been examples of ordinary folks who have taken the initiative to come to the aid of those in need.
For example, the “Cajun Navy,” a group of recreational boat owners and volunteers who helped the rescue effort after last year’s Louisiana flood, mobilized again along with boatmen (and jet-skiers) in Texas. Asked on-camera by a reporter what he was going to do with his boat, one Texas City man replied: “Go try to save some lives.” There have also been many “human chain” rescue stories. My favorite is the chain formed by a group in a drowning apartment complex who helped Greg and Andrea Smith into a rescue truck as she went into labor. Having already lived through two miscarriages the Smiths welcomed Adrielle, their healthy baby girl into the world a few hours later. An emotional Greg said: “Everything about this pregnancy we said is in God’s hands. That’s why her mane is Adrielle. It means she belongs to God.”
In his letter to the Romans, we hear St. Paul remind us that we all have a duty to love. The commandment to love our neighbor is not optional, nor does it apply only at our convenience or in the moments of grave disaster. St. Paul’s words inspire us to take the initiative in showing love in all its forms of kindness, patience and generosity in our daily life.
This weekend is Commitment Sunday at St. Dominic’s. In the Mass Programs and pews, we have provided a brochure listing the many ways that you might renew your commitment to God and the community. As a parish, St. Dominic’s is formed around five commissions which provide healthy structure to our parish life: Spiritual Life, Outreach, Community Life, Administration and Formation. Each commission has various opportunities to engage your faith commitment to God through this community of which you belong. I invite you to fill out the brochure and place detachable piece in the collection or bring it to the office.
Also, this week, we also launch our final stage of the 2017 Archdiocese Annual Appeal. Many thanks to the households who have contributed $139,859 of our goal of $210,524. I am confident and inspired by your continued generosity!
In today’s Gospel, Jesus promises us that he is present in and through community: “Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.” (Matt. 18:20). As we gather in Jesus name this weekend, let us recognize that Christ is in our midst, let us give thanks and let us renew our commitment to live in his love and joy.
Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P.,