26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

A COMPANION TO ST. MICHAEL’S

By Fr. Chris Valka, CSB

This Monday, the Church celebrates St. Michael and the Archangels; and since Michael is the patron of both this Archdiocese and our University, it is a great celebration indeed.

Given that Michael is the patron of the University here, our Sunday readings seem to lead into the Feast on Monday as they speak the often child-like attitude even adults have towards fairness.

Much like last week, we are reminded that God’s ways are much different than our own. The Lord challenges our notion of fairness directly through the words of the prophet Ezekiel. The Psalm begs the Lord to remember his mercies, which is evident in Matthew’s Gospel as Jesus favors the repentant sinner over the self-proclaimed righteous person.

These readings remind me about why those who built St. Michael’s College insisted that St. Basil’s Church be at its centre. As students learn about the various disciplines of this world, we would be negligent I think, if we did not at the same time remind them of the importance of mercy. When we learn to see the world and all that it contains through God’s eyes, we learn to see it with compassion – to see it from their perspective rather than that of our own.

Thus, St. Basil’s is the necessary companion to St. Michael’s for its steeple towers over the campus reminding us what we hear in our readings today: that God’s ways are not our ways as so must aspire to be something greater than we are today. The many people and experiences encountered here challenge us to step outside of our own self-centeredness.

Of course, St. Basil’s is also the beneficiary of this companionship for we are continually challenged to look at the world anew. Should we be willing, our parish has an opportunity to experiment with new approaches to spiritual formation and worship. It is the tension of the multi-generation faith environment that enables St. Basil’s to be, as one parishioner described it to me not that long ago, “a modern traditional parish.” May we be faithful to the example of both our patrons as we strive to be just that.