This is pledge weekend for this year’s Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Ap-peal. Please join me and Fr. Mark in mak- ing a gift to this year’s appeal and become “Signs of Hope”. Your gift to the appeal brings hope to so many throughout the Diocese who are in need. A gift to the CMAA is very important because it provides most, if not all, of the funding for the 30 ministries that serve our parishes, touching the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. The diocese provides priests to staff our parishes. Currently there are 38 seminarians being educated for priestly service in our diocese. We are very blessed to have this many, but, imagine for a moment the total cost of each year of college and graduate school education for these 38 young men. The CMAA through your contributions, helps to pay these costs. Our parish goal for this year is $133,400. You can make a one-time gift or make a pledge and pay it over 10 months. Like last year, 70% of funds received over our parish goal are rebated back to the parish for use in our ministries here at OLM. I thank you in advance for your generous sup- port!
In the Gospel today, Jesus addresses something that we all rail against, and at the same time are sometimes guilty of – hypocrisy! The story is told of Mark Twain at a dinner party whose guests included a businessman notorious for having made his money by sharp dealing and by unscrupulously and aggressively squeezing money out of his beleaguered tenants and clients. At one point in the evening, the fellow cornered Twain and piously gushed: “Before I die, Mr. Twain, I intend to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I want to climb to the top of Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud.” “I have a better idea,” suggested Twain acidly. “Why don’t you stay right here in Boston and keep them?” Hypocrisy is also an occupational hazard of the religious professional. Ralph Waldo Emerson once noted, “People are very inclined to set moral standards for others.” The implication is that we may not use the same criteria to regulate our own lives. Jesus chided the religious leaders of his day….I think he would do the same today. Clergy of all faiths are in a precarious position, for it is expected that they will publicly preach morality, but we have seen many not practice it themselves. There is a Latin phrase that scarcely requires translation to show why abuse perpetrated by any clergy is particularly scandalous: “Corruptio optimi pessima est” which means “The corruption of the best is worst of all.”
Today’s gospel may just set the right tone for Lent which begins this Wednesday, Ash Wednesday. Instead of giving up soda, cigarettes, candy, swearing, etc. etc. Let’s give up being hypocritical in our relationship with others and get the plank out of our own eye before worrying about others. “Judge not, and you will not be judged!”
Have a blessed week!