Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
My Dear Friends in Christ,
We have been enjoying the beautiful weather these last weeks. Last weekend, Fr. Melwin and I attended the Festival of India. We enjoyed the food, the music and dancing, visiting with friends, and meeting new people. It was a taste of home for us!
This weekend we celebrate the Birmingham Ethnic Festival. For everyone who grew up in the neighborhood, especially those from Hungarian families, this festival is a taste of home and Nagymama’s kitchen. We welcome all who have come to St. Stephen Church this weekend! St. Stephen has been the centerpiece of the Birmingham neighborhood for generations. Its history and architecture connect the people who came to East Toledo to build new lives, to their homeland in Europe and the family members whom they left behind. The St. Stephen Parish family became their extended family as they adjusted to life in America. They prayed together for the intercession of St. Stephen and the Irish Madonna of Gyor to watch over them. During the festival, we will be offering tours of St. Stephen Church with guides to help explain the unique place St. Stephen holds in the Birmingham neighborhood and in the faith and hearts of its people.
Our scripture readings this week are challenging and uncomfortable. We hear that the princes go before King Zedekiah and accuse the prophet Jeremiah of demoralizing the people, demanding that he be put to death. The King doesn’t want to take a stand, so he hands Jeremiah over to them. A mere servant speaks to the King, denouncing what the princes have done, and the King relents and releases Jeremiah. In the Gospel, Jesus says, that He did not come to establish peace, but division. We see that standing up for what is right can be very uncomfortable and takes courage. It may be more peaceful to say nothing and allow evil acts to continue, but justice demands that we speak the truth. It may mean opposing a coworker, friend, or family member. It is better to be divided than for everyone to be corrupted. As the reading from Hebrews points out, “Jesus endured such opposition…in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.” Be courageous and keep standing for justice and truth.
Students are going back to school soon, if they have not already begun. Keep our students, teachers, administrators, and support staff in your prayers.
Registration for our religious education program is ongoing and classes will be starting soon. If you have children or grandchildren in Kindergarten through Eighth grade, please send in your enrollment today! Parents of students in Second and Eighth grade must attend the sacramental preparation meeting coming up this month for Frist Communion and Confirmation. See the bulletin for more details.
Enjoy the Birmingham Festival this weekend. Iszten hozzot!
Rev. Gilbert Mascarenhas SAC