Pastor's Note

Fr. Jim


Greetings in Christ to you all!

Our first reading from Exodus contains two commandments which will recur throughout the Old Testament and New Testament. The first is not to harass or oppress an alien (meaning a refugee, immigrant, or traveler, not, for example, Chewbacca). The second also forbids us to oppress our
neighbors, particularly in financial matters, with excessive interest or demanding excessive security for loans. It is incredible how the concerns of a text written centuries ago can sound so important in the present, and there they are.

There is a whole body of belief and teaching about what the Word of God tells us we should do in the concrete circumstances of life. We are each day faced with decisions about how to provide for our families, how to respect our
neighbor, how to build a more just society. The Church has a great deal to contribute to our own reflection on our moral choices. This body of knowledge and wisdom is called Catholic Social Teaching. While it’s been present from the earliest days of the Christian Church, its modern starting point is often taken to be the encyclical Rerum Novarum (“Of New Things”) of Pope Leo XIII, and continues right up through Pope Francis’ most recent encyclical Fratelli Tutti which I mentioned previously. The most important point, however, is to remind ourselves always that the way we interact with and treat others has a definite bearing on our standing before God. We are our brothers’ keeper, and have a responsibility to each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Fr. Ken Kirkman