August 25th | Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time

144,000 that’s it! According to the Book of Revelation that we heard from today, only 144,000 people will merit salvation – that’s if you take the Book of Revelation literally. Several years ago I visited a parishioner at a former parish who was on their deathbed. Since childhood he believed, and still believed on his deathbed that only 144,000 were going to make it to heaven. “I’m not one of them” he told me. Having made peace with his flawed self a long time ago, he said “it doesn’t matter what I do.” He felt more comfortable in the doomed sinner category. Let the 144,000 have their reserved bleached white celestial garments! He will make do with whatever awaits the rest of us. At times I’ve jokingly said that it doesn’t matter where I go….I’ll know people in both places! But the belief that only 144,000 will make it need corrected. Revelation doesn’t say 144,000 merit saving. It says uncountable multitudes do, underscoring this assessment with a number signifying completeness. Twelve represents all Israel, and also the 12 apostles or the ingathered New Israel of the church. Twelve times 12 is 144, which has a superlative effect in numerology. Think of the three zeros like ellipsis dots…as if to say this number goes on and on. Far from a limiting tally, the 144,000 predicts a vast ocean of rescued souls. In the Gospel today, Jesus seems to be narrowing the gene pool of the saved by the teaching that the gate is narrow. But rather, he is saying divine rescue comes more easily to the outsider (presumed damned) than to the insider (presumed saved.) This is Gospel good news!!

I would like to inform you about a few projects that have been happening this summer. We are in the process of making our grounds on the west side of the church a more park like setting for your enjoyment. Through the generous donation of the Savoie family, outdoors stations of the cross have been installed on the west wall of the church building, and a pathway is being installed by the Boy Scouts. This is all in memory of Timothy Savoie. A dedication ceremony will take place on September 8th. Well also plan to add benches. The Boy Scouts are also installing a permanent fire pit for use by our various youth ministry programs and parish organizations. A picnic table and outdoor furniture have been added outside of room 114. An outdoor conversation area has been added on the patio outside the west doors and we plan a pergola over it. We are also in the process of installing energy efficient and long lasting LED lighting in the church. Profits from this year’s MercyFest will be directed toward LED lighting in the gym. The next project I am looking at is a new sign for the outside of church. Thanks for your generosity that makes all this possible!

Have a blessed week!

Fr Don