St. Joseph Catholic Church, Clayton MO

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

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – November 17, 2019

We are faced with strong and disturbing readings today that hold a certain fascination, since they seem at first glance to be blueprints for future inevitable wars and hardship. A fundamentalist interpretation focuses on this aspect. Yet we hear them at our Sunday celebration of the Eucharist, which infuses them with hope and optimism. Rather than dreading the future, today’s liturgy assures us that God is with us in all of life’s inevitable trials, and that we have a role in shaping the outcome of human history. Occasionally, some Christians have attempted to decode these readings for an exact measure of the world’s end, but they have thus far been disappointed.

Nothing lasts forever is a lyric from a Broadway show. Stars fall from the sky, leaves wither and fall, mountains wash into the sea, human projects and governments totter and collapse with great regularity. Today’s liturgy opposes this idea as incomplete, reminding us that Christ has made a permanent change in human history, and that life in him is life forever. Rather than inviting us to throw in the towel, today’s liturgy strengthens us for acts of goodness and grace in our families, communities, and world.

~James Field, © J. S. Paluch Co.

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – November 10, 2019

Confidence in the Lord

We are nearing the end of the liturgical year. Today’s readings remind us that our own lives will draw to a close one day, and we can be certain that the Lord will encourage, strengthen, and save us–both now and at the last. The astonishing story of the Maccabees invigorates our faith as we behold an entire family willing to die rather than deny the Law of Moses. The psalm response echoes the faithful cries of the Maccabees: I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God. That same confidence appears in Saint Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. The Lord is faithful, he testifies; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. In the Gospel, Jesus explains just how long God’s protection will endure. The children of God whom God guards, Jesus says, will live forever like angels.

© J. S. Paluch Co.

Notes From The Pastor’s Pen – November 3, 2019

Dear friends in Christ,

Throughout the month of November, and especially on All Soul’s Day, the Church invites us to pray for the dead. Here we especially remember our loved ones and all those close to us.

The theological basis in praying for the dead is that on dying their souls may not be perfectly cleansed from venial sins or they may not have fully atoned for past transgressions, for which reason it is important that we pray for them, above all in the Sacrifice of the Mass, and give alms so that they can experience eternal life in heaven.

The importance of praying for the dead is demonstrated in the Second Book of Maccabees which tells us that Judas Maccabees “made atonement for the dead that they might be absolved from their sin” (12:46), and in the First Letter to the Corinthians (3:15), the First Letter of Peter (1:7), and the Gospel of Matthew (12:16).

The Church encourages us, in the month of November, to visit cemeteries and pray for our loved ones who have gone before us.

Especially at this time of the year, let us take to heart the exhortation of the Father of the Church Saint John Chrysostom who once said, “Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them” (Homilies on 1 Corinthians 41, 5).

In Christ,
Father Bené