“O Lord, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David;
but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act.
I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen,
a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted.”
-1 Kings 3:5,7-12
26 July 2020
Greetings. Solomon is remembered for his wisdom, which God grants him because of the humble request as described in our 1st Reading this weekend. He does not ask for long life, wealth, nor power over his enemies. Sadly, even with wisdom, Solomon was shackled by his sins, particularly lust. And unfortunately, his sins had disastrous effects on his people and on the kingdom, culminating with the division of the domain shortly after Solomon’s death.
As Solomon requests wisdom, I hope we all relate in these turbulent times with Solomon’s statement, “but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen.” We may not necessarily relate to being a youth, nor with confusion on how to act (though I am sure we have all felt that way at some point). I hope we can all relate to Solomon’s request for guidance and have a desire and commitment to serve the Lord. We ought to routinely listen and reflect upon how the Lord is calling us to serve. This shifts us from a self-centered way of living to place God first and as a result, live with compassion for others. In the midst of the pandemic, we certainly are called to be mindful of our neighbors in the way we live and serve.
As we examine Beyond in our discipleship pathway four, we ensure that our relationship with the Lord bears fruit in our care for our brothers and sisters. The call to charity ought to be a guiding lens in our lives. The parish has many great ways of getting involved. In the midst of the pandemic, our St. Vincent de Paul Society has continued to serve our local community by providing food from our food pantry, and Salt has shifted and found a new way of feeding the hungry. With your generosity and support, the pantry has remained well-stocked even as requests increased, and the distribution of lunches has become a major operation. The ministry of Salt reminds me of how God continues to call us to creatively serve with flexibility and commitment. As SALT distributed the sandwiches to the hungry in the midst of the current health crisis, partnerships were established with other Christian communities and charities, ensuring that even more needs can be met for those we serve.
As the youth of our Parish receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, I am reminded of the many and varied ways that we are able to go BEYOND in charity. In addition to feeding the hungry and providing the basic necessities of life, our OLPH youth became involved in Sleep in Heavenly Peace, an organization that builds and provides beds to children who don’t have beds of their own. Our youth also got involved in Icing Smiles, an organization that provides custom cakes and treats in an effort to bring a smile to families dealing with the critical illness of a child. I mention just these two areas of service among the several ministries OLPH young people have become involved in, mostly started by a simple intention to meet the needs of a neighbor.
This commitment by our youth is a great example of the creative ways of which we can serve. I’m fortified by their involvement in living out the Pro-Life culture that we should all strive for, by supporting Baby Bottle Fundraisers, that both raise awareness for the vast needs of young women dealing with an unplanned pregnancy by concretely supporting them and their families. We are blessed that our parish has a strong commitment among families and our youth to living out the Pro-Life culture, which includes many of our parishioners attending the annual National March for Life in Washington, D.C. each January.
In addition, our going beyond calls us to be apostles– those who go forth and share the good news of Christ. All our charitable efforts, if they really desire the good of our neighbor, should seek to bring others in relationship with Christ and His Church. Not for our own sake but that others might also come to know the hope of eternal life. In doing so, we not only have the privilege of feeding our neighbors physically for one day but also offer them the food of the angels, the Lord Jesus who is the wellspring of life.
As we move forward, we must continue encouraging one another to discern how God is calling us personally to serve our neighbor. We have to continue to build a strong relationship with our Sister Parish’s, St. Veronica, in the Cherry Hill neighborhood of Baltimore (I would love to see more of us personally connecting on a personal level with our brothers and sisters at St. Veronica’s) as well as with Our Lady of the Nativity in Haiti (a bit more challenging a trip, but would be worthwhile to arrange). I think we would be blessed to have more friendships as we share the goal of building God’s kingdom — together!
As a family, I encourage you to consider ways of serving together this year. How might God be calling your own family to live out the faith in the love and service of those in our communities? Connect with one of our ministries, with those in our County, with Catholic Charities, or start by fulfilling simple gestures meeting the needs of our neighbors and bringing a smile to all in the process.
Some of the key considerations for this week:
▫ Saturday, 4:30 pm Mass in the Church
▫ 7:30 am Mass outdoors
▫ 9 am Mass outdoors and live stream
▫ 11 am Mass in the Church
▪ Please keep in prayer Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, our neighboring Catholic and Christian Schools, and our County’s public school system. The Archdiocese of Baltimore issued guidance to assist Catholic Schools plan for the 2020/21 school year, which you may read at olphschool.org, along with our own specific school communication to families, “Reunited & Learning: 2020/2021 School Year.” At the core of the plan is the flexibility for families to choose what is best for them and their children at this time. In partnership with the parish, our school is striving to make OLPH campus as safe as possible for those returning to a hybrid model, as well as making improvements that will support an online, meaningful digital learning experience for those families who choose to remain safer at home. Each classroom is being equipped with new cameras and technology that will allow teachers to simultaneously teach those in the room as well as those joining them online. I am grateful to our principal, Mr. Matt Malone, as he leads the school community. Please keep all OLPH teachers, students and families in your prayers.
▪ OLPH Pastoral Care ministry continues to grow stronger, even with the necessary adapting to meet the needs of our parishioners in our current health crisis. I encourage you to listen to our weekly announcements from Christa Weyant who coordinates our offerings. Please reach out to her, or to me, if you are aware of any needs that we are not meeting.
May the Lord continue to call forth laborers to harvest God’s abundant blessings, and may the Lord bring clarity and direction to all those discerning in their life at this time.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
In the Lord,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett