Accusing a committed Christian of hypocrisy is one of the most detestable things someone can do to them. It is hurtful because Jesus often condemned the hypocrisy he saw in the religious people of his day. One of those times was at the beginning of Chapter 5 of Matthew’s Gospel when he asked why people could offer to remove the speck in their brother’s eye while ignoring the beam in their eye. There is a great temptation for people to propose changing humanity but not consider how to convert themselves first. So, many people would say when we argue for social change in the world, we must first make sure we aren’t guilty of what we accuse others of committing. While that is good advice, it can lead many imperfect people to hold back from working for social justice.
An example is contending a person must be completely free of any racist tendencies or prejudices before encouraging the end of these feelings in others. So many of our inclinations are deep-seated and unconscious that we neglect to see them. It is when we are working to overcome an evil that we recognize it in ourselves.
Yes, conversion of our hearts is necessary as we address society’s problems, but it doesn’t come about in a straight line. That was the point made by Rebecca Bratten Weiss in an article I read recently in America Media entitled, “Working to ‘transform your own heart’ can’t be an excuse to ignore social injustice.” In her article, Weiss points out that those who suffer from injustice can’t wait around for Christians to be perfect before finding solutions to social evils. The need of the suffering is for good-intentioned people to help now.
Weiss points out that the attitude a person must experience total conversion and be perfect before they call others to change is often just a cop-out and excuse for a sneaking anti-justice agenda. For example, she used the expression “thoughts and prayers” spoken by people after so many mass shootings or other avoidable tragedies. She claimed it is often a code for “I don’t really care, and I’m not going to do anything.”
Weiss said practicing social justice doesn’t have to be left as the work of the perfect. The work has social value in itself, and good results don’t depend on the moral superiority of those carrying them out. Morally flawed people can produce good results and experience transformation from their good works. Weiss counsels that if we want to deal with the evil in our hearts, perhaps the best way is to work against injustice in society. Don’t wait to be perfect. Begin today working towards perfection by striving to overcome injustice and help others enjoy life’s fullness.
Prayer for the Synod on Synodality
Throughout the world, the Church is preparing for the 2023 Synod of Bishops on Synodality. Would you please pray this prayer for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in the preparation process?
We stand before You, Holy Spirit, as we gather together in Your name.
With You alone to guide us, Make Yourself at home in our hearts;
Teach us the way we must go and how we are to pursue it.
We are weak and sinful; do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path nor partiality influence our actions.
Let us find in You our unity so that we may journey together to eternal life and not stray from the way of truth and what is right.
November Book of the Dead
November is the month Catholics make efforts to pray for the repose of the souls of the faithful dead. The parish has compiled a Book of the Dead with the names of our deceased loved ones. It is at the front of the church near the baptismal font. Throughout the month, we will reverence the book with incense at the beginning of weekend Masses. Pray for the repose of the souls of all the faithful departed throughout November.
Available For All in Need
The Holy Redeemer Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society provides financial assistance with bills for food, housing, utility, insurance, repairs to homes and autos, etc., to our Chatham neighbors in need regardless of race, creed, or background. Their assistance in strict confidentiality. Our SVDP especially desires to aid any Holy Redeemer parishioners with financial needs. Contact the society using their Help Line (508)-267-7983 or, if you prefer, call Fr. Sullivan (508)-945-0677. Financial support for the society’s works can be forwarded to the Parish Office or placed in the Poor Box at the entrance to the church.
Wedding Anniversary Celebration
Is there a significant wedding anniversary in your future? Plans are being made for the annual Fall River Diocesan Mass of Thanksgiving for couples observing significant wedding anniversaries (including the first year) during 2022. On Sunday, February 13, 2022, the celebration Mass will be at 3:00 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River. If you would like an invitation, please contact the Parish Office. The couple’s names must be submitted before Wednesday, November 17, 2021.
Priests Support Ministry
The Diocese of Fall River Office of Clergy Support is establishing a lay support ministry for diocese priests. The Vianney Group of Priestly Support, named for St. John Vianney, patron saint of priests, offers support for diocese priests. Participants will join together in fasting and prayer every third Thursday of the month. Thursday, November 18, will be the next date. Matt Robinson, Director of Clergy Support, invites participants to recite a virtual Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00 p.m. That day they are encouraged to fast by limiting themselves to one main meal and two smaller ones. Participants can also sacrifice by fasting from some other activity they enjoy. More information is available at the website www.fallriverclergysupport.com.
2022 Catholic Calendars
Catholic Calendars for 2022 are available on the table at the back of the church. They include all the Catholic holidays, liturgical seasons, and the feasts of the saints. The Catholic Extension Service publishes the calendars, and they include information about the work of Catholic Extension in mission diocese around the country. It is good to have a Catholic Calendar in the home as a tool to teach about the liturgical calendar and as a sign that yours is a Catholic home. Would you please help yourself to a couple of them and share them with your family and neighbors? The Nickerson Funeral Home sponsors the calendars for the parish.
Advent Word Among Us
Advent begins on Sunday, November 28, 2021. To help parishioners celebrate this special season, we are giving copies of the Advent issue of the magazine The Word Among Us. This magazine includes a reflection on the daily Mass readings and several spiritual articles. Help yourself to a copy, and take one to share with a family member or friend. They are also on the table at the back of the church.