THIRTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
ST. NICHOLAS PARISH From the Pastor’s Desk As you probably know by now Murphy’s Law is alive and well. It is a law that simply states that… If something can go wrong, it will go wrong. Ironically Murphy was an optimist. This law has many axioms and sub theories. A good example is something that we all experience like if two cars are traveling toward each other on a narrow road, they will meet at the narrowest point. We can come up with so many examples and I have many of my own. The continuing one in my life is planning a retreat. If I plan one early enough it will most likely not happen. I am on three years running. This past year’s was a scrub. I hope to plan something in January. I hope I didn’t just activate Murphy’s Law. Before, during and after last weekend my thoughts have been on last Sunday’s gospel. As you may recall it was about the Sadducees non belief in the Resurrection. They tried to prove their point with an example of seven brothers. The Law of Moses stated that if a man married a woman and died childless his brother would have to marry her and provide a descendent for him. The first brother married a woman but died childless. Then the second and then the third also married and died childless. In fact all seven had married the woman and died childless. Their big question was, “at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?” Jesus responded that they were mistaken about marriage and about the resurrection. Starting with the resurrection; if there is no resurrection then this world is all there is. If there is no resurrection then the goal in life is getting the most out of this world. “My life is all about me!” Therefore avoid all unhappiness, unpleasantness, trials, difficulties, failures and whatever negatives possible. If there is no resurrection then all cases of disappointments, sufferings and failures are intolerable. Ongoing struggles are a waste of time and pointless. Don’t waste your time on anything too difficult: time is too short. This point of view leads to thinking that the most important thing in life is to be as happy as possible. If there happens to be a reference to God then the thinking goes…“God wants me to be happy.” Belief in the resurrection is a belief that God will bring his faithful people to the fullness of life and happiness in heaven. There is something greater beyond death. We not only work hard in this life for good things in this life but we do so with a desire to grow in greater goodness with an eye on eternal goodness. In this life, struggles or failures do not define our lives. We do not give up in growing in goodness; especially when it is difficult. The thinking on this line is not that “God wants me to be happy”; rather it is “God desires me to be good and faithful.” We know the manifestations for the narrow thinking that our goal in this life is to be happy. Children have an innocent way of revealing this. It is the child groaning to mom or dad “I’m bored” or “I’m not happy”. It is somehow a plea for mom or dad to make them happy. It is the subtle belief that mom or dad is responsible for the child’s amusement or happiness. To put one’s own happiness on others is to place a burden on the other that they cannot carry. One of the facts of life is that the goal in this life is not happiness. Happiness happens and it is good. But happiness in this life is not the goal. True happiness can only be found in the resurrection.
Our belief is in the resurrection. The path to the resurrection is the path of Jesus Christ. Jesus experienced happiness on occasions; he also experienced opposition and hardships, torture and death. The continuing thread in his life was that he revealed love and faithfulness. He revealed the path to eternal happiness: the resurrection. We have eternal life in and through him as we imitate his love and faithfulness. We get glimpses of eternal happiness with the fleeting moments of happiness that we experience in this life. This is a long about way to get to some thoughts on marriage. The question of the Sadducees was based on the idea that this world is all there is. They did not believe in the resurrection so their example was a “straw man” argument. In their argument they assumed that the resurrection was a continuation of this world and thus the issue of whose wife will she be in the resurrection was their crafty way of mocking belief in the resurrection. For them this world was all there was. But this is an important point. When any one denies or does not give a thought to the resurrection then this world is all that matters. There is nothing more. Thus a couple who choose to marry will have to make the one perfect choice when it comes to marriage if they are going to live happily ever after. Marriage is seen as a goal: the end game. It is the one chance to marry that one perfect person who will make me happy. It is very possible that this is one of those causes for divorce in our materialistic society. The cause is manifested as “I am bored with my marriage”, “I am not happy”, “maybe I chose the wrong person”. “I missed my chance at happiness”. This is a view that that comes from a materialistic society that sees nothing beyond this world. The vocation of matrimony is about something beyond itself. The couple has been called to journey together to build up the Kingdom of Heaven. They mutually make sacrifices and help each other out of love and faithfulness as they bring each other to God. Plus they do their best to help build up the Kingdom of Heaven by providing more citizens of the Kingdom with their children. (Couples rarely consider the priority of journeying to heaven together and building up the heavenly kingdom over their personal comforts in this life. Perhaps this is another reflection on belief or no belief in the resurrection in regards to openness to children.) There is also another aspect in reflecting on marriage. Without belief in the resurrection there are high stakes placed on marriage as a means to personal happiness. Many couples believe that marriage is essential to their personal happiness. Ironically this is partly the reasoning behind same sex marriage. Marriage is considered the goal. It is the endgame and thus a right. Unfortunately this places tremendous pressure on marriage to deliver that happiness. This belief that marriage is the goal to one’s happiness will ultimately result in the destruction of marriage. Just look at the number of divorces and the complaint of unhappiness. It is a burden that marriage much less another human being can bear. As we have said, marriage is not the goal. It is actually the starting point of a life together toward something. For the Catholic Christian, the Sacrament of Matrimony is about the Kingdom of God. Marriage is not about itself, it is about God and his plan. Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees puts it into perspective. “The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry or are given in marriage.” In the resurrection marriage is not
NOVEMBER 13, 2016 necessary. Marriage is for this world as a means to Heaven. The life giving union of husband and wife is a foreshadowing of the fullness of the eternal life-giving union with God. Marriage is a communion of persons that gives life. Heaven, the final destination, is perfect communion with God: the fullness of life. In fact all of the Sacraments of the Church are a foretaste of this life-giving union with God. Sacraments are encounters with Christ in this life that draw us into the perfect union with God in the Resurrection. The Sacraments are about salvation. Marriage is not the goal. Marriage is about something more: it is about heaven: the resurrection. If marriage is the goal with the expectation of the fullness of happiness in this world, it will fail. Look around our world. It is when marriage is about something outside itself that it is properly oriented. That something is about the Kingdom of God. It is lived in this life as love and faithfulness. Love and faithfulness is fruitful: the giving of life to children. Thus it is about life in the Kingdom of God now and with an eye on its perfect manifestation in the resurrection. Have a great week. Father Ralko
Church Support NOVEMBER 6, 2016 OFFERTORY $12,529.00 Diocesan Tax $ (650.00) Fenwick Subsidy $(3,060.00) Rosecrans subsidy $(290.00) Available for Parish Operations $8,529.00 Parish Operating Expenses $(8,200.00) Religious Education Expenses $(800.00) Other Income $2,300.00 Weekly deficit $1,829.00 May God bless you for supporting your parish This week we pray Week I of the Liturgy of the hours.
We pray for the following who have died recently: Gerald Erhard & Jane Weisend Zanesville Catholic Teens A Middle School Event Sunday, November 20, 2016 4:00-6:00 p.m. The Year of Mercy for grades 6-8. Students & their families join us for dinner at 5:30 p.m. St. Nicholas Teen Center. Please RSVP for Dinner (740) 453-5173. ANNUAL COOKIE SALE Just in time for Thanksgiving Day, delicious pumpkin cookies from Dooley’s Diner!!! These scrumptious morsels are only $7.00 per dozen and all proceeds will benefit Catholic Social Services. To place an order, please contact #740-452-5057 (ext. 102) by November 19, 2016. During the week of November 19th to 23rd, cookie orders will be available for pick up at the Diner (231 Market St.) or delivery can be arranged. Don’t miss out on this sweet opportunity!!!
ROSECRANS ALUMNI SOCIAL Join us at the 3rd annual Alumni Social Friday, November 25th @6PM The Knights of Columbus Hall ALL ARE WELCOME The event is open to alumni, friends, family, and supporters. Come enjoy friends, food, and fun! THANK YOU SO MUCH A big, big THANK YOU from the bazaar group. With your help, we met our goal and then some!!! Whether you donated, purchased, or worked, we couldn't have done it without your efforts. This small group...