All pastors in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati are required to count and report Sunday attendance at all precept Masses throughout the month of October. This year we will once again attempt to have the ushers count during Mass and put the total on a sheet I will provide. This is a great time to invite a neighbor or relative who has fallen away from going to Mass to come with you and be counted. Consider inviting them to come to breakfast with you after Mass. As the attendance at specific Masses declines dramatically, and we have fewer priests in the Archdiocese each limited to three Masses per day, pastors may be directed to curtail or consolidate certain Masses at individual parishes so that the only Masses in a pastoral region will be those well attended Masses that can be satisfied by one priest. With fewer priests to celebrate Masses, poorly attended Masses may be on the “chopping block.” This is why attending Mass at your parish and showing interest is practically important, especially during October.
The St. Ann/Sacred Heart RCIA/RCIC begins this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. in the basement of Sacred Heart Church, 400 Nilles Road. There is no need to pre-register, simply arrive by 7:00 p.m. We usually run until 8:30 p.m. Plenty of parking around both sides of the church is available.
St. Ann and Sacred Heart parishioners who are admitted to the hospital must call my personal telephone number (513) 858-4210 ext 3014 and leave a voice mail telling me the name of the patient, name of hospital, and room number if possible. If it is an emergency, call 858-4210 and press option 2 “Fr. Tharp for an emergency.” Hospitals are generally unable to call me because of HIPAA regulations, but even when they do call, it is always the same day the person is leaving the hospital. People tell me, “Father I was in the hospital for a week. I saw you walk by my room.” If I do not know you are in the room, I won’t even think to look in. If you want a visit, you or your loved ones must call and leave a message on my number, not a message at any other number or line.
Reflection on Scripture
Is Jesus suggesting self-mutilation in today’s gospel? No, of course not! Jesus is employing a literary device known as hyperbole (deliberate exaggeration to get the point across). An example of hyperbole is the statement, “It is raining cats and dogs.” Clearly we don’t presume to communicate that small animals are falling from the sky. We are saying, “It is really raining!” Similarly, Jesus is using exaggeration to point out that nothing is more important than getting to Heaven. Don’t let anything stand in your way.
Exaggeration makes the truth of the issue even more clear. If you are on your way to Heaven, you have won it all. If you lose your way and forfeit Heaven, you have lost it all. First and foremost, work to become and remain part of the Kingdom of God.
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