Let’s step back a few weeks…Jesus’ ministry is rejected in his own home town of Nazareth, but he continues his preaching in surrounding villages; he has sent his apostles out in twos giving them “authority over unclean spirits.” His apostles are returning and Jesus himself is gathering larger crowds each day. You can imagine those feelings—the excitement of the returning apostles, the hopeful expectations of Jesus, the exhilaration of the crowds who have witnessed Jesus’ words. And, we can appreciate the weariness of the apostles and Jesus, and understand their desire to “get away by themselves for a few days.” (pause)
What is the mission of the church today? Some say it is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” Others say it is to preserve truth, while others say the mission is to gather people together. The mission of the church seems to be a vague and multi-faceted reality. We can lose focus on the church’s mission by reducing it to any one aspect.
The opening line of today’s gospel provides a reminder of the fundamental nature of the mission of the church today; summoning his disciples, Jesus sent them out, giving them authority over unclean spirits.
Think about that timely line. This is what Jesus has done repeatedly ever since. He summons us from different walks of life to gather at the altar where we are empowered by a celebration of the Eucharist, then dismissed to proclaim the Good News just as the disciples did so long ago. Being Christian is always about responding to the invitation of Jesus Christ to complete the work of God in today’s world.
At the height of the Korean War, a little village came under heavy artillery fire. In front of the Catholic Church there stood a fine statue of Christ, which was shattered by the bombing. A group of American soldiers helped the priest to gather up the bits and pieces. Together they restored the statue. All the pieces had been found except the hands. The soldiers offered to have the statue flown back to the states to be repaired but the priest declined their offer.
“I have a better idea,” he said. “Let’s leave it as it is without the hands and place a sign on the pedestal for everyone to see with the words, ‘Friend, lend me your hands.’ That way, we may get them to see Christ has no hands but ours with which to raise up the fallen. He has no feet but ours to seek out the lost. He has no ears but ours to listen to the lonely. He has no tongue but ours to speak words of sympathy, comfort, and encouragement to those weighed down by sorrow, pain, and failure.”
This incident illustrates the scope of today’s gospel. We could easily presume that since the story was about the twelve disciples driving out unclean spirits, Jesus isn’t speaking to us, but he is. Just as he sent out twelve ordinary men to preach repentance in our broken world, a very common human need, he is expecting us to do the same.
We look at our limitations and claim that we are not qualified to do what the apostles did. We reason that we are not holy so God would not want to use us for such a task. But as the readings point out, God used ordinary people to interact with people. God needs people as much as people need God and many whom God uses are quite ordinary indeed.
And if you are still thinking, “Would God ever choose me?” Paul’s answer would be an emphatic “Yes!” In his letter to the Ephesians, he expresses his conviction that God chose us to be full of love and to be his adopted children. Just as our parents expected us to participate in doing our part, God is counting on us to do our part by being his hands and feet.
All of us, who are baptized, were chosen to join the twelve disciples in proclaiming the good news, each in our own way to a world that has not yet heard the good news or is still reluctant to believe in what Jesus has taught us. At our baptism, we were anointed with the sacred oil of chrism, thus empowered by the Holy Spirit to share the good news.
If you are still skeptical about carrying out this mission, keep in mind that we preach the gospel best by the way we live our lives as parents, spouses, children, parishioners and whatever walk of life we find ourselves in. Jesus summons each of us, regardless of age, occupation, education or gender to be his hands, his feet, his ears, or his tongue. We are his hands by the work we do, his tongue by the words we speak, and his feet by the places and people we visit.
An admirer once asked Leonard Bernstein, the celebrated orchestra conductor, “what was the hardest instrument to play?” He replied without hesitation: “Second fiddle. I can always get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm or second French horn or second flute, now that’s a problem. And yet if no one plays second, we have no harmony.”
Don’t underestimate the value of what you can contribute to making a difference in the life of this parish community. As I look back on the past twelve years as your pastor, I am mindful of many in our parish who have done much to make a difference in countless ways not just in the parish, but in their home and our community as well. Without their help, our parish would not be what it is today and I thank you for playing the “second fiddle” with enthusiasm, but I am also mindful of many who do nothing more than come to Mass. Amission is given to you as well when the Mass ends.
All of us are sent forth to announce the good news to everyone we meet. When we do this, we will drive out unclean spirits, we will heal people’s troubled lives, we will bring the good news of salvation to those who have forgotten or rejected God. We can bring harmony to our world when we carry out our mission, by living Christ’s gospel message to love, teach, pray and serve.
Can he count on you to do this?
St. Hubert’s Parish
Semi-annual Financial Stewardship Report
As of December 31, 2014
Dear Fellow Parishioners,
Although this is a “treasure” report, I want to first intentionally acknowledge and personally thank you for generously sharing your Time, Talents, Treasure and Prayers. The quality of our community is just as important as our financial resources.
As a result of your contributions to The Capital Improvement Fund as well as general donations, we are continuing to improve and maintain our parish facilities. Many parish buildings have been repaired and painted. The parking lot has been paved and striped. Parish staff and volunteers all help to be good stewards of our attractive grounds and facilities.
A video of the St. Hubert Choir practicing for the Lessons and Carols during the Christmas season in 2014.
The following is a video showcasing some of the ministries and people who make up St. Hubert Catholic Church.
Saturday Vigil - 5:00 PM
Sunday 8:00 AM & 10:30 AM
(Babysitting is available during 10:30 Mass)
Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri. 8:15 AM Wed. 10:30 AM
Reconciliation: Saturday 4:00 PM (or by appointment)
Our mailing address:
Parish Office - (360)221-5383