25 October 2020
You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Greetings Brothers and Sisters,
Today’s Gospel poses the familiar question, “What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus’ response is deceivingly simple: to whole-heartedly and unconditionally love God and neighbor. Christ is encouraging us to utilize this renewed standard in order to better appreciate the Law of the Old Testament. In doing so, we unveil a two-fold response. Primarily, our perspectives on love and mercy change. Additionally, our focus shifts from figuring out what is the greatest commandment to contemplating how we can personally live out the Great Commandment in our own lives. In the Jewish world, the concept of loving God and neighbor in the light of Law is complementary with Scripture teachings. The mezuzah, traditionally found on the doorways of Jewish homes, includes the Shema Israel (Hear, O Israel) found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. This passage calls upon the reader to love the Lord with one’s whole heart, soul, and strength. The mezuzah aims to regularly remind the faithful of Deuteronomy’s challenge and to hold it in meditation and prayer. Christ’s call to love abundantly further indicates the cooperation of love and law. Proper intention, although essential, is often not enough for society to act prudently and achieve justice. When we embrace loving “with all [our] heart[s], with all [our] soul[s], and with all [our] mind[s],” our focus turns to the Lord and His abiding presence guiding us.
Responding to the Great Commandment requires us to learn more about Christ and His teaching in order to BECOME more like Him. As I advanced in school and access to the internet became more prominent, I fell into a philosophical trap regarding the necessity of memorization﹣Why memorize something that you can quickly lookup on the internet? In abiding to this philosophy, humanity is now approaching a time when rote memorization will be considered outdated—no more memorizing the multiplication tables and no more memorizing Scripture verses. While digital tools are handy for storing and retrieving knowledge, they will never replace the usefulness of a good memory. Why? While we can quickly look up a Scripture passage or search for particular words and themes, we are unlikely to do in-depth research in times of spiritual need. A one-off search does not prepare us to offer sound guidance to a friend or to successfully persuade another to explore a deeper relationship with Christ. To do so requires a knowledge in which our minds and hearts have absorbed the beauty of Scripture in our very core. I encourage you to dive deeper into Scripture so that you may successfully answer the call of modern-day missionaries﹣to love God and your neighbor with your entire being.
This week I have unexpected news to share with you. Our OLPH youth minister, Kate Quinn, has accepted a Catholic High School teaching position in Vermont. Kate’s decision was prompted by her desire to discern deeper her relationship with her boyfriend. Kate’s last day will be Sunday, November 1 and I ask for prayers for Kate as she navigates this transition. As we prepare for this transition, I want to reassure you that no obstacle will divert our commitment to the spiritual formation of our youth in equipping them to live out their faith in powerful ways. Fr. Mike Schmitz, Director of Youth and the Young Adult Ministries in the Diocese of Duluth, MN, reminds us to stay engaged in our circle of influence by working together. He encourages parishes to cultivate meaningful ways for teens to have healthy relationships with their peers, opportunities to enrich their faith and discover an appreciation of their identity in relationship to God. I desire to continually work together as a Parish in building a dynamic, engaging, and attractive Youth Ministry Program at OLPH. Therefore, I invite you to connect with me for a time of prayer, reflection, and sharing on Thursday, October 29, at 7 pm via ZOOM. Register HERE or share your thoughts with me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reserve your seat at Mass for the October 31 and November 1 weekend here. PLEASE TAKE NOTE: A new Mass Schedule will be in place beginning the weekend of November 7/8. The full schedule with increased availability of the Church for Daily Mass, Prayer, Adoration, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, may be viewed here.
- Sunday, November 1st, we celebrate All Saints Day, a day to honor those men and women who lived heroic lives and helped pass on the faith. The Church holds this day as important, not simply as a way of calling to mind the Saints we all know and love (beginning with Our Lady!) but also to remember the countless saints who the Church has not formally canonized and yet are in heaven, praising God and interceding for us. Let us give thanks to God for such a beautiful witness and diversity of lives who are all united in loving God.
- Monday, November 2nd, we celebrate alongside the universal Church, All Souls’ Day. We set this day aside to pray for all our loved ones who have died and continue commending them into the hands of our merciful Savior. We will pray for the souls of our dearly departed in these ways:
- We will offer Mass on November 2nd at 8:15 am and at 5 pm, both in the Church and through LiveStream. Please join us in the Church if you are able.
- A prayer service will be offered at St. Mary’s Cemetery (located ¼ mile down Ilchester Rd from the parish) on Sunday, November 1 at 2 pm in honor of our fellow parishioners laid to rest at our parish cemetery.
- An All Souls Novena will be offered as we pray for and commemorate our faithful departed. If you care to add your loved one to this Novena, you may do so HERE.
Please join us in prayer this day for all the parishioners who have passed as well as the many loved ones of parishioners.
- Holy Innocents, a Ministry to families who have lost children to miscarriage, is hosting a Vespers service for families who have experienced miscarriage, pregnancy loss, or the loss of a child. This event will be hosted by Our Lady of Victory Church on Sunday, November 1st from 4-6pm and will include time for prayer, reflection and remembrance of our children. To learn more about Holy Innocents Ministry, click HERE
- Each October, our Respect Life Ministry helps organize a baby bottle donation, that supports our local pregnancy centers who assist women with at-risk pregnancies or particular needs. While this year we do not have physical baby bottles to offer you, we are able to accept your donation HERE. Please continue your prayers for all life, and pray that our whole lives may bear witness to the preciousness and dignity of all life.
- The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops encourages us to join in prayer for our nation, participating in the 2020 Election Novena. Each day from Monday, October 26 to Tuesday, November 3, please pray one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for the day’s intention. The list of daily intentions is posted on our website.
- More from Fr. Mike Schmitz, Ascension Press offers a great reflection on diversity in his video, “We are Divided and Distracted.” As he reminds us, diversity can be a great asset but also a potential liability, in and of itself. To emphasize the importance of a “diversity that has been united,” he uses the example of sled dogs that must work together (on a side note, Call of the Wild is a great book, but the recent movie is an enjoyable adaptation of the classic). As Christians, we are called to appreciate our diversity but to come together, united in our faith and mission. As a call to action, Fr. Schmitz reminds us to recognize the difference between our circle of interest and our circle of influence. Our interests become a distraction to our calling if it consumes our time and focus. We ought to discern our influence and where we can make a positive impact on our family, neighborhood, and world.
- The Maryland Catholic Conference will sponsor a virtual town hall on police reform with Archbishop Lori, Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, Delegate Sandy Rosenberg, and Senator Jill Carter, on Monday, October 26 at 7:30 pm. Connect on Facebook.com/MDCatholic.
- Ablaze Family Ministries is hosting a webinar Tell Your Story: Accepting Jesus’ Invitation. All Catholics are called to bear witness to our faith. The Lord often calls us to use our experiences to invite others into a relationship with the Lord and to share in his love. Register here for the webinar on Monday, November 9 at 11 am, as well as getting a sneak peek or learning more about this ministry.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
In the Lord,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett