20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

AN INVITATION TO ENCOUNTER

by Fr. Chris Valka, CSB

For the past couple of Sundays, we have been learning about the purpose of things:  prayer, activity and even faith itself.  This week, our attention shifts to the immediate consequences of getting the purpose right.

Jesus uses some rather harsh words this weekend:  “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!”  Not exactly what you would expect from the “Prince of Peace”. . . .

However, we have all heard dozens of quotes that speak to the necessity of difficulty before goodness.  No Pain, No Gain; There is no rainbow without the rain; you don’t get diamonds without time and pressure; and so on and so forth.

Anyone who lives their life according to the Gospel is bound to cause discomfort and division with some people in their lives (though we must be careful not to use this as an excuse to cause trouble!)

Thus, we aim for peace and unity, but we should not be surprised if there is division and combat along the way.  Our challenge is not to lose sight of the goal, which brings me to our lives as they are connected to St. Basil’s.

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed a common theme in my conversations about the Parish:  St. Basil’s as a place of encounter.  In these spaces, we encounter God, and other people we would rarely encounter otherwise.  This is a place wHere people can come together – if we want it to be.

Over the past two weeks, I have started hosting a few potluck dinners for couples soon to be married, new parishioners and eventually all of the ministry groups in the parish.  These dinners started because I was thinking about Jesus – a man who was very good at bringing very different people together.  As we know, he often did this over a meal.

But here’s the thing:  he had no real home for entertaining others and no money with which he could purchase food.  So I asked myself how he did all this table ministry?  Then it occurred to me:  he lived in a potluck culture!

So consider this an invitation to extend an invitation to someone else.  If you want to bring people together, let me know and we can use the parish hall.  If you want to host a few friends for dinner, let me know and I will gladly attend.  After all, this is how the Church was built – around a meal with people who desired to know God more.  Such meals are ministry, because they will help us to come together more deeply around the Eucharistic meal each and every Sunday.