Happy Feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother! This weekend we celebrate both the Feast of the Assumption as well as the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In a real way both feasts talk about a person entering a new place, a new state. In the Assumption, we celebrate the reality that our blessed mother was assumed body and soul into heaven, that she’s taken her place as queen of heaven where she intercedes for us below. That’s a pretty amazing position. In Jewish tradition, the queen was the King’s mother, who heard the pleas of the common folk, and interceded for them with her son. In the assumption, Mary takes on that role, and so she intercedes for us with her son. That’s why when we have a litany of the saints, we pray “Mary Mother of God, Pray for us” or on the Miraculous Medal it says, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
Meanwhile, on Sunday, we about a Canaanite woman, a foreigner, who gets turned away three times by Jesus. Yet, she persists, because she’s trying to intercede on behalf of her sick child. Because of her persistence, she succeeds, even to the point that Jesus says about her, “O woman, great is your faith.” It’s jarring to hear Jesus go from insulting this woman to praising her. Yet, like usual, when something in the scriptures doesn’t seem like it belongs, we need to ask ourselves: Are the scriptures wrong? Is Jesus Wrong? Am I wrong? Or is my understanding of the situation wrong? I’ve never seen the first two happen, but I’ve seen the second two happen all the time. What we’re seeing is Jesus using the formula, based on the book of Ruth, for the conversion of a Gentile to the Jewish faith. Ruth was turned away 3 times before she was accepted. That was the pattern for converts to Judaism before Jesus’s time. So Jesus turns this woman away three times in that same pattern, only to accept her.
I think of that in our world. How would we do with that, if we had to be turned away three times before we could come in. How many situations in our world would we stay, how often would we simply give up?
As we continue through this pandemic, none of us have all the answers, and none of us are perfect. Yet, we have the perfect one right here with us, Jesus Christ. How would I fare, really, if I had to be turned away three times before I could come to Jesus? Would I still run after him with all of my heart? Or would my pride get in the way?
I’m happy to say that Sister has hit the ground running, she’s got a meeting set up with our Catechists already, and we’re hoping to be able to communicate details to our families very soon.
I do have some good news. After a long time, and a lot of research, I believe we’re going to be able to fix the heat pump on the tabernacle side of the Church. It’s been out for quite a while, but we needed to determine the cause of the failure. Thank you to those who helped with that project. We just received bids, and I’m hoping to confirm one in the very near future. Thank you to everyone who has given to the monthly improvement collection over the last year. We should have enough from those collections to cover the cost of the new heat pump without a major hit to our budget.
I also want to thank everyone who’s started to bring baskets in already for the fall Turkey Dinner. Although the dinner will be a little different this year due to the our situation, I’m so thankful that we’re still going to be able to have it.
I also want to thank those who have offered to help walking the cemeteries as we get our new system up to speed. I’m meeting with a few people from the cemetery committee to develop a plan so that we can collect the information in an organized way. I have to say, before I was a pastor, I had no idea just how much work cemeteries could be. I think we’re starting to get that plan together, and I’m hoping that soon we’ll be at a point that we have something real to hand to volunteers to be able to help with. I thank everyone for their patience as we learn the meaning of the old saying “3 steps forward, 2 steps back.”
Please know that you are all always in my prayers,
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.