St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

106 N. Meramec Avenue – Clayton MO 63105 – Parish Office (314) 726-1221

Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – October 24, 2021

Recognizing Jesus

The star of today’s Gospel is a panhandler. Bartimaeus is blind, yes, but he is probably also homeless and filthy, a real nuisance to respectable citizens. Even so, it is Bartimaeus who recognizes Jesus as the Messiah, places all his faith in him, throws aside everything he has (his cloak), begs him for mercy, receives new vision, and follows Jesus on the way to suffering and death in Jerusalem. How desperate will we have to get before we can do the same?

© J. S. Paluch Co.

Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – October 17, 2021

The Humanity of Jesus Christ

All three readings today support—each in its own way, of course—a reflection on the humanity of Jesus Christ and how that humanity played a key role in the drama of our salvation. Although not chosen specifically to coordinate with the other two readings, today’s second reading does in fact carry forward the theme of Christ’s humanity in a remarkable way. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews highlights the solidarity that exists between Jesus and us, precisely because in his human na-ture Jesus has known the same sufferings and testing that are our own experience. Because he can “sympathize with our weaknesses,” we can “approach the throne of grace to receive mercy.” For the author of Hebrews, the humanity of Jesus was an essential requirement for his redemptive death, as well as an invitation to us to find in Jesus someone with whom we can identify in our daily struggles.

© J. S. Paluch Co

Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – October 10, 2021


In today’s readings, we discover that material wealth alone does not keep us from discipleship. We will see that there are other gifts more important than material wealth, but even so, it is how we use our gifts that matters most.

Today’s scriptures point to the value of the gifts of wisdom, trusting in God, and letting our actions reflect the love of God from within. It is not gold that causes us to fall, but rather the desire for gold above all other things. From the readings in Wisdom and Hebrews, we find the source of God’s gifts in our lives. Wisdom is more valuable than worldly possessions. In Hebrews, we are challenged to look at our own values and admit honestly what controls our lives.

© J. S. Paluch Co

Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – October 3, 2021

Dear friends,

Every year in the Spring and Fall, a group of dedicated men and women have come together to volunteer to help clean up the grounds and throughout the summer some have stepped forward to regularly water the plants and flowers.

Recently, Tim O’Connor, who regularly helps with the parish grounds, came up with the idea of the parish beginning a Saint Joseph Garden Club to expand upon this practice in which all are welcome and invited to participate. The commitment is only to show up at least once to be a part of the Club, but of course it would be great if you could help out even more.

After the leaves fall, the Fall Cleanup will again be held which will likely be in November. In the meantime, if you are inter- ested in helping out in any way regarding the parish grounds
now or in the future please feel free to contact Tim O’Connor at 314-805-7007.

As an aside, the photo of the apples pictured here are from the Liberty Apple tree that was planted on the east side of the parish grounds this past May. The oth- er tree growing near it is a Winesap that was planted at the same time.

In Christ, Father Bené

P.S. Please remember the Wine & Cheese Reception, Coffee & Doughnuts, and the special Blessing of Animals, all of which will be taking place next weekend.

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – September 26, 2021

Proclaim the Wonder of God

The gift of the Spirit is given freely, not according to human expectations, but according to the generosity of God. Joshua wants Moses to stop Eldad and Medad from prophesying in the camp, when they were not with the others as the spirit was bestowed on them. Moses, so close to God’s mind in the matter, wishes everyone could possess the spirit of God and proclaim it to the nations.

Psalm 19 celebrates the perfection of God’s law, and how it brings joy and delight. It is better than the finest gold or the sweetest honey. Moreover, God gives the wisdom of the prophets to everyone, especially the simple and lowly ones, even to children. It is the “little ones” who proclaim the wonder of God to all.

© J. S. Paluch Co.

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – September 19, 2021

Dear friends,

This past Sunday was the first day of the 2021-2022 school year for the Saint Joseph Parish School of Religion. There are approximately 100 students in the Program which serves our parish and surrounding parishes. May I kindly ask for your prayer to the Holy Spirit for the students and their teachers that this will again be a successful school year.

You may have noticed that excavation work was taking place on the front lawn of the rectory this past week. Unfortunately over the past many years, roots of the large oak tree there had grown into the drainage system to such an extent that it became necessary for a drain clean-out to be created. This will allow access to prevent blockage which had in the past given rise to the backup of rainwater and sewage in the parish hall beneath the church. You may also have noticed that slate tile was replaced on the south side of the church roof a few weeks ago. This was done to repair the damage sustained by the roof from the powerful storm with high winds that occurred in August. We rely on your generosity in the weekly collection to help maintain the parish buildings and grounds.

You may have noticed the statue of Saint Francis of Assisi that is now located at the east entrance to the parking lot. This statue came from the Vision of Peace Hermitages in Pevely, Missouri, to whom we are grateful. Saint Francis is the patron against dying alone, of merchants, needle workers, animals, peace, ecology, and against fire, and his feast day is October 4. For this reason, a Blessing o f Animals will be celebrated on Sunday, October 10, at 9:30 a.m. in the parish rectory courtyard next to the school. Please feel free to bring your pet for this special blessing.

Looking ahead, a Wine & Cheese Reception will be held in the rectory courtyard following the 4:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday, October 9. All are invited and welcome. I have been told that in the past this event was met with great success. Also, Doughnuts & Coffee will be held following the 7:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., and 11:00 a.m. Masses on Sunday, October 10. Please see join fellow parishioners and guests for fellowship and please see the parish bulletin for further details regarding these upcoming events.

In Christ,
Father Bené

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – September 12, 2021

Its All About Control

From toddlerhood to old age, we grow in mastery of our own lives, our bodies, and our destiny. This mastery is hard won, and we don’t let go of autonomy easily. Much of this self-mastery involves the avoidance of pain or discomfort, so when we hear things like “take up your cross” and “lose your life,” we tend to resist the message.

James says that faith without works is dead. Ouch! That is really a direct message! One way to look at this, as well as the part about losing our life to find it, is that faith is a process of more and more openness to God’s direction of our lives. It is very hard for us to give up control, but perhaps what we are being asked to do is not to become passive and babyish, but to allow God to direct where our self-mastery will lead and what it will accomplish. We are asked to relinquish the need to control the results of our efforts; to risk, as Jesus did, the loss of everything we are working to achieve. We are asked to let God take the lead and to control the results, even though we may never see those results.

© J. S. Paluch Co.

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – September 5, 2021

The Messiah Foretold

Today’s story of the cure of a deaf man with a speech impediment is a good example of how much is contained in a simple miracle story. The Greek word mogilalos appears only here in all of the New Testament. It is a technical term referring to someone with a stammer. It is also used only once in the entire Jewish scriptures, in the passage that we read today as our first reading from Isaiah. Clearly, by his choice of this precise word Mark wants us to recognize that what Jesus is doing is the fulfillment of what Isaiah had predicted centuries earlier. In fact, Mark wants us to recognize that Jesus is the Messiah foretold by Isaiah and the other Jewish prophets of old.

The word ephphatha, “be opened,” used to describe the restoration of the man’s speech, is another example of a subtle allusion to an earlier prophecy. This time the prophecy in question is from Ezekiel, when he foretells that in the messianic age, “your mouth shall be opened to speak” (24:26). The sophistication of Mark’s narrative is further revealed when we realize that there are multiple levels within a single reference. Mark not only draws our attention back to Israel’s prophetic past, he also points to the initiatory practice of his contemporaries by his mention of such things as spittle, touching of ears, and the use of the word ephphatha, all of which were practices incorporated into the early Church’s baptismal ritual.

© J. S. Paluch Co.

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – August 29, 2021

Doers of the Word

The second reading for today begins a five-week series of selections from James, a letter that is classified among the so-called “catholic” (or universal) epistles because they are addressed to a general audience rather than to one particular community. Today’s text offers important advice for Christians of every generation. God is first cited as the author of all gifts, and in particular, reference is made to the gift of baptism by which we have been made the “first fruits” of the new creation.

What follows is advice based on a very Jewish understanding of the “word” as an active force, operative in the world. We are reminded that unless we, too, become “doers” of the word, our claim to faith is empty. Today and in subsequent weeks the author reminds us that it is equally important to do the “works” of love, for example, by caring for the “orphans and widows in their affliction.”

© J. S. Paluch Co.

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – August 22, 2021


There is an axiom that states, “Not to decide is to decide.” This saying was popular in the turbulent times of the Vietnam War. It urged us not to allow others to answer the moral questions raised by our nation’s involvement in that terrible conflict, but to decide for ourselves. Making such choices is never easy. Avoiding them is common. Jesus, for his part, was not only a gallant risk-taker, but a clear decision -maker. As he pursued the mission to which the Father called him, he continually decided for us and for the Father. He worked hard to lay out a scenario that would enable others to make similar choices. Never did he make decisions for others or force others into decisions, even decisions that had eternal ramifications. Jesus is inviting us to make such decisions today. We won’t be absolutely sure. What is sure, however, is the command that issues from God’s word: Take the risk. Decide!

© J. S. Paluch Co.