Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

September 20, 2020 - 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Next Sunday:  Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time          Fr. Schmitz 


Pastoral Region YOUTUBE Channel


Many thanks to all who helped us achieve over one thousand subscribers to the Sacred Heart and St. Ann YouTube channel.  This enables us to do so much more “on-line” than we could do in the past.  Even if the COVID crisis ends soon, (and we all hope it does) we intend to continue to use our YouTube channel to reach shut-in parishioners as well as former parishioners who have moved away but still have affection for their old home parish.  Thanks to all who subscribed.  Remember that we cannot have too many subscribers, so it is never too late to subscribe. 


First Communion for those who could not last May


I wish to reiterate from former communications that as soon as we have assurance from the authorities in Ohio and from the Archdiocese that we can reduce the requirements of social distancing and masks so as to have a traditional large Group First Communion celebration, we will do so for St. Ann and Sacred Heart.  


In the meantime, if any parent wishes their child who was looking forward to First Communion last Spring to have the opportunity to make an “informal” First Communion at any Sunday or Weekday Mass that I celebrate, please contact “Lauren” the Parish Secretary at Sacred Heart (513) 858-4210.  She has my schedule and will help you in choosing a regularly scheduled Mass when your child can begin receiving the Most Holy Eucharist.  Distancing rules do not allow us to do many of the things associated with First Eucharist like banners, gathering around the altar, etc. Nevertheless beginning to receive communion will not preclude them from the Group First Communion when we are permitted to have it.    Feel free to choose the aforementioned option or to wait for the formal First Communion Mass (which cannot happen until current Health Department restrictions are lifted.)   This is a parental decision.  Whatever you think is best for your child; that is what I want to do.


RCIA:  Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults begins this coming Wednesday


Schedules for the RCIA for St. Ann and Sacred Heart are available at church doors (both St. Ann and Sacred Heart) as well as on our parish websites.  If you have not registered already, please feel free to simply show up on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. in the basement of Sacred Heart Church.  We will be sure to socially distance and wear masks.  We will decide then whether we wish to continue to meet “in person” or if we wish to meet virtually for a time.


Reflection on Scripture: Twenty Fifth  Sunday in Ordinary Time  


What does “justification” mean in Biblical Terminology?  We know we are justified by Christ and sanctified by his Sacraments.  Justification is a change in legal status.  Sanctification is an ontological change, a change in being.  But then, what is the definition of Biblical justification?  To follow rabbinic tradition, permit me to use an analogy:  


If I sneak onto my neighbor’s property, and steal the apples from my neighbor’s best tree, I have made myself a thief.  If my neighbor refuses to press charges for my crime, I am “pardoned.”  I face no legal penalties for my crime since my neighbor has refused to press charges.  I am morally guilty but legally I face no penalty due to the mercy shown to me by the victim.  This is justification.  In his mercy, Jesus dies on the cross to forgive our sins.  


If the victim comes to the fence and hands me an apple seedling and says, “Plant this in your good soil, and you can harvest apples just like me,” this is sanctification.  The victim has graciously lifted me up to have an orchard like his.  This is what Jesus has done for us when he gives us the Sacraments of the Church.  We are sanctified by the gracious will of our Lord Jesus Christ.  


In today’s gospel parable, the owner of the vineyard hires those who have been standing around all day.  God gives us the opportunity day in and day out to turn our hearts to him.  He justifies those who come to work early and even those who come to work when the day is almost over.   This is justification.   


In his magnanimity, the owner of the vineyard pays each a full day’s pay.  This is sanctification.  Jesus offers us the holiness of being part of his kingdom through the sacraments.  We did not earn his graciousness no matter when we came into the employ of the Kingdom of God.  We are recipients of God’s graciousness in that he hired us.  We are blessed by God’s charity that he offers us sanctification.  In other words, “God’s justice is mercy.”  


Next WeekTwenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time     


Ex 18:25-28

Phil 2:1-11 or 2:1-5

Mt. 21:28-32


Theme:   It’s not what you say, but what you do that counts!


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