From the Desk of Fr. Tony...
Fr. Tony Stubeda
Father Tony Stubeda
You Are Invited
On my first Thanksgiving at the Church of St. Clara in Clara City I invited a group of friends to join me for dinner at the rectory. They all accepted the invitation, and we were set to go. I shopped early, prepared what I could ahead of time, and then spent the time after Thanksgiving Mass making sure everything was ready. I set the table with the finest linens I had at the time, got out the parish’s good china and silverware, and even made a centerpiece for the table. By 2:00 p.m. I had everything ready for my ten guests to arrive for a festive dinner. I sat down in the living-room while the turkey was in its last hour in the oven, and was very pleased with myself that when my guests arrived at 3:00 p.m. I could enjoy them instead of spending all my time doing last minute things. We could visit for an hour and then we could eat around 4:00 p.m. as we had planned. I wasn’t worried when 3:00 p.m. came and went, but by 3:45 I was beginning to worry. At 4:00 I mashed the potatoes, made the gravy, warmed the rolls and put the finishing touches on the dinner, and put things in the refrigerator to keep cold and in the oven to keep warm. I pulled the turkey to set at 4:30 p.m. I decided to give my friends a call to see what was up. When I finally reached them they told me that they had decided to get together with other friends, and so would not be coming. I sat down at my beautifully set table, with a feast for ten and ate a forlorn Thanksgiving feast by myself.
In today’s readings we are reminded that God has prepared a great and generous feast for us. He has prepared joy, plenty and blessing for us. He has invited us to join him in rejoicing and celebration and has done everything possible to prepare for our presence, but he has invited us, not commanded our presence. The rich blessings of the Lord will not be forced on us, but they are offered to us. Our responsibility is to be ready to receive them with an open heart and willing spirit. The blessings offered us through Christ’s saving action must be received in order to be ours.
Our area faith community offers a wide array of ways to participate in the blessings of God. We offer a robust weekday Mass schedule as well as eight opportunities to celebrate the Eucharist each weekend. We offer a variety of ways to grow in faith through participation in education programs for all ages, including Formed, an on-line opportunity for growth and enrichment. Our parish organizations offer ways to combine your interests and concerns in service, and parish ministries offer the opportunity to offer your skills and talents. The banquet is prepared and the blessings are poised to be poured out upon us. The question becomes whether we are ready to respond to the invitation and begin the celebration of salvation.