From the Pastor’s Desk
The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Aug 27, 2023
For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given the Lord anything that he may be repaid?
Brothers and Sisters,
One of the most challenging lessons for most students: not every question has an easy answer. When we are little, our early development is a quest to understand the emerging world around us, manifested by the incessant question, “why?” And as we enter school age, whether in classwork or on a test, we quickly learn the expectation is to answer questions with the right answer. Or, further still, an insightful correct answer.
Mysterious questions can often be frustrating. In Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans, he quotes two rhetorical questions, the first from the Prophet Isaiah, “For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?” (Cf. Isaiah 40:13). Of course, none of us can penetrate the depths of God’s mind, nor understand fully his ways. Still, our lack of knowledge isn’t an impediment to obeying and accepting God’s will.
As the new school year begins, our faith formation and OLPH School students will embrace the theme, “The joy of the Lord is our strength” (Cf. Nehemiah 8:10). Along with Ezra, Nehemiah is based on the experience of the return to Jerusalem, as Persian King Cyrus conquers the Babylonians and permits the Jewish people to return and rebuild Jerusalem. As appointed Governor of Judah, Nehemiah rallies the people to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to serve as protection. After the temple and the restoration of the walls, Nehemiah and the priest Ezra call for the renewal of the covenant.
For us, Nehemiah serves as an encouragement. Despite our weaknesses and failures, we can recommit ourselves to the Lord’s ways and build a community as the Lord intends: to be upright in our ways and serve as a beacon to the world of God’s graces.
One of the challenging questions that we cannot answer is why our loved ones or friends stop practicing the Faith. Parents and grandparents are often baffled, wondering what they could have done better in raising their children. While we ought to admit that we have not been perfect, we are also not entirely responsible for the trajectory of a person’s faith journey. But as with St. Monica, mother to Saint Augustine, who for a time had left the Faith, and whose feast is today, we are called to pray and sacrifice for those no longer practicing as Monica had for her son. If this topic hits home, consider joining our OLPH St. Monica’s Prayer Group – by signing up at olphparish.org/reg-hub and scrolling to the bottom for more information on the monthly prayer meeting.
Lastly, a few parishioners have reached out regarding aid for Maui as the community works to recover from devastating fires. Likely many others are interested in supporting. The quickest way to get resources to them is by donating to Catholic Charities Hawaii by using this special link www.catholiccharitieshawaii.org to do so. Thank you to all who have asked!