St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

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

Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – July 3, 2022

Good News is on the Way

This week, in the midst of summer, the scriptures greet us with joy, peace, mercy, and more peace! Sounds a little like Advent, doesn’t it? We often associate the prophet Isaiah with that preparatory season, and our first reading rings with such words as exult, comfort, and rejoice. The Israelites had reason to rejoice, for they had returned, come home, to a rebuilt Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon. In the Gospel, the seventy-two disciples who were sent out have their own “homecoming,” returning to Jesus from spreading the Good News of the Kingdom and preparing people for the “advent” of Jesus into their cities and towns on his long road to Jerusalem. Like the exiles in Isaiah, the disciples return rejoicing. The Good News, the Kingdom of God, is coming, even in summer. As today’s psalm reminds us, “Shout joyfully to God, all the earth!”

© J. S. Paluch Co.

Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – June 26, 2022

Discipleship’s Cost

In today’s first reading, God tells the prophet Elijah to prepare Elisha to succeed him. Succeeding Elijah will be no easy task; he has spent his life facing threats from the kings he has confronted about their infidelity to the God of Israel. The psalm illustrates the emotional and spiritual distress that the prophets’ steadfast faithfulness to God brought them. Paul’s description of the Christian’s freedom from the law as opposed to “the desire of the flesh” puts this struggle at the very heart of Christian identity. The reading from Luke’s Gospel recounts Jesus’ decision to journey toward Jerusalem, where he knows he will meet his earthly fate. Following Jesus—like succeeding Elijah as prophet—will now become more difficult. Unlike his calls to the first disciples, Jesus encounters those who are not ready or are not strong enough to journey with him.

© J. S. Paluch Co.

Notes from the Pastor’s Pen – June 19, 2022

The Gift of the Eucharist

Today we hear how Abram encounters Melchizedek, “king of Salem . . . and a priest of God Most High” (Genesis 14:18). Melchizedek appears nowhere else in scripture, but is nonetheless significant. Psalm 110 declares of the great King David, “You are a priest forever, in the line of Melchizedek,” a description later given (in the letter to the Hebrews) to Christ as High Priest.

Early Christians saw in Melchizedek’s bread and wine the bread and wine of the Eucharist; Paul’s account of the Last Supper (in today’s second reading) is the oldest one in scripture. In the Gospel, Luke describes Jesus providing bread for a crowd in words similar to Paul’s, words still used by the Church: Jesus takes bread, gives thanks, breaks it. Together, these three readings reveal how Christian priesthood, Christ’s Real Presence, and the call to serve those in need are all found in the gift of the Eucharist.

© J. S. Paluch Co.