September 27, 2020
Dear St. Elizabeth Parishioners,
10:30 a.m. Outdoor Mass Every Sunday: I invite you wholeheartedly to an outdoor Mass at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday for the first 50 people, on a first come, first served basis. The Mass will be held in the School parking lot. Please wear your mask and practice social distancing. As we worship together, let's be acutely attentive to protecting one another from the virus.
The Purpose of Our Gathering Together: It would be a joy and a blessing, a grace and a privilege, for us to gather together for Mass to pray for our needs, give thanks to God for all the blessings, seek forgiveness from God and one another---and keep the memory of Jesus. May we be united with Jesus and one another in the Eucharistic celebration. Jesus says: "Remain in me as I remain in you." Let's dwell in each other's hearts and respond to the invitations we receive in the Word of God.
Prayers are Urgent for These Needs: Let's keep these needs specially in our minds and hearts: 1. All those affected by Covid-19. 2. All those who are on the frontlines of caring for those affected by Covid. 3. All those affected by the wildfires. 4. All those who are affected by racial disharmony. 5. For healing, common sense, and discernment in choosing the leaders God wants us to have as we face the elections in the next few weeks.
Thank You: Thank you for supporting St. Elizabeth Parish through your financial donations, even though we have been caught up in the Covid for months now. Your generous good will toward our parish is much appreciated. Also, I'd like to thank all those who have been volunteering in setting up the Sunday Masses and those who have been helping clean up the facilities. I'm both impressed and inspired by the generosity of your time and talents.
A Request to Avoid Harm to Parish: I am going to be honest here: I have received complaints from some of you that someone from our parish has been dropping in your mailboxes misinformation about the parish and our ministries. Such things do damage to the unity and harmony of a faith community. Whoever is doing it: please refrain from such things. They are harmful to the life of a parish. If you have anything you'd like to talk to me about, you are always welcome to come see me and share your concerns. But hiding behind anonymous, negative, harmful letters is childish and immature. You do not have the parishioners' permission to drop such misinformation in their mailboxes!
First Communion and Confirmation: October 11 onwards, I'll be doing an extra Mass on Sundays to celebrate the parish First Communions and Confirmations. More information later. If you have any questions, please call the parish office (Patti Spiteri) or Lily Codd.
God's blessings: Wising you all God's abundant blessings of peace and joy, faith and love, hope and health! Let's keep praying for each other.
Your Friend & Pastor,
Fr. Charles Puthota
Scripture Reflection - 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
An atheist quizzes his newly-converted Christian friend about Jesus. “Where was Jesus born? How many apostles did he have? Who were his parents? Where did he die?” The neophyte draws a blank to each question. Unimpressed, the atheist says, “You seem to know almost nothing about Jesus to whom you claim to have been converted.” The friend answers: “I’m ashamed at how little I know about Jesus. However, some years ago I used to be abusive toward my own family and addicted to gambling and alcohol. But now I am completely free from those demons. All this Jesus has done for me. This much I know of him.”
Who is Jesus to me? We Catholics at times may be thrown off by this direct challenge. We have our liturgies, sacraments, and devotions; we like to give to the poor and the needy; we love the Church and follow the traditions---all of which possess the power to bring us face to face with Jesus. However, often enough, we may not be engaged in finding a personal and communal relationship with Jesus, in a conscious and explicit manner, through all our religious practices and explore ways in which Jesus could become present in an ongoing way in our lives. Who do we say that Jesus is? Jesus himself is interested in this question.
Information about Jesus does not necessarily lead us to Jesus. The faith our parents, teachers, friends, priests, and nuns have passed on to us needs to become our personalized faith. We cannot live on borrowed truths. Truths have to become our way of life or we will be mouthing platitudes. Theories of food are all good, but we have to taste it for ourselves. Concepts of love are not enough. We need to actually love and be loved. Similarly, our faith calls for personal experience or it is not our faith. Jesus invites us to come and see---taste and see---for ourselves.
As individuals, families and communities, we face the question: Who is Jesus to us? People may have variously called him John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, and one of the prophets. But who is Jesus to us, here and now, in our culture and society, in the 21st century, given our current issues like Covid and racial conflicts? The answer is bound to be dialogical as Jesus relates to our changing scenarios of life as we grow in age, facing all sorts of circumstances in our lives and the world.
Our authentic answers to Jesus’ question can spring only from the Heavenly Father’s revelation. Only through God’s wisdom and knowledge, His inscrutable and unsearchable ways, which Paul celebrates in Romans, do we come to know His Son. We cannot define Jesus purely from culture and society, our wants and needs. There is a grave danger of domesticating Jesus to suit our needs and ideologies. True, he is incarnate in our times, culture, and the world as the Word-made-Flesh, but he is also counter-cultural, calling the world to conversion and judgment. He is the Son of God, our Savior, for all times and cultures. He is “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” calling us to repentance and giving us eternal life. We cannot fabricate Jesus for our convenience; we cannot fashion our own idols of Jesus. Our personal experience of Jesus has to be rooted and grounded in the revelation of our Father. Letting Jesus be who he is, we discern his vital role in our lives and for the world.
As Peter is called to shepherd the Church, as Eliakim is appointed master of the house in Isaiah, we are sent out on mission in the wake of our personal experience of Jesus. With Jesus we will collaborate to let the Church shine and dispel the darkness of evil in the world. Who is Jesus to us? This question we cannot ignore as Christians. The answer---not merely in words, but in the way we live---will bind us together with Jesus and his Father, energizing us to heal the world, the world God cherishes with an everlasting love.
Father Charles Puthota, Ph.D.
Offertory 2020 During Closure
COVID-19 has posed many challenges to our parish including offertory funds lost due to the suspension of Mass. Your offertory gifts support salaries of parish staff members, programs and ministries, maintenance of our buildings and grounds and many other vital components of our parish life. Please continue supporting our parish financially during this difficult and uncertain time.
Donations can be done online by visiting the San Francisco Archdiocese web site: https://sfarchdiocese.org/lifeline - (select St. Elizabeth Parish under “designation”).
You can also mail them to the Parish Office or drop them into the mail slot, also at the Parish Office.
If possible, please consider giving an amount that equals your regular offertory contribution. It will be an inspiration to me, as your Pastor, to know that I can depend on receiving your continued offertory support. All gifts, regardless of amount, are greatly appreciated and very beneficial.