Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time .

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

As you know, because of the arrival of hurricane Irma, the church will be closed and the Archbishop has given a dispensation from the obligation to attend Holy Mass on Sunday, September 10, 2017. The Saturday Vigil Mass and all Sunday Masses have been cancelled.

I will celebrate Mass privately on Sunday and will pray especially for you and your families, asking the Lord to keep us safe. I will also have a special intention for those who have been affected by Irma, those who are in harm’s way and most especially those who are away from their families to look after us. I will be thinking of the Miami Beach Fire Department personnel, the Miami Beach Police Department personnel, the Miami Beach employees, staff and management and the doctors, nurses and staff at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Many of you have evacuated heeding the order of the authorities and have gone outside the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Miami and even out of state. I encourage those of you who are in places other than south Florida, to attend Mass at the nearest parish and pray especially for those intentions. I invite those of you who are in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to join me in prayer for those intentions.

In the second reading for this Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, we hear St. Paul reminding the Romans that love is the fulfillment of the law. He enumerates the commandments and then explains that they can be summarized as “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Indeed, the person who loves himself or herself respects his or her body, acknowledging it as a temple of the Holy Spirit. Whoever loves another, wishes only good things for the beloved. Not only that person would not harm him or her in any way, but would wish for the beloved the greatest good a human being can aspire to: communion with God, holiness. That is why the fraternal correction that the Lord teaches in the Gospel and through the prophet Ezekiel is an act of love. Correcting the person who errs and admonishing sinners are spiritual works of mercy. Of course, it is important that we learn from the Lord and even when we must practice fraternal correction we do so with kindness, gentleness and tender love, not to vent our frustration, disappointment or anger but truly seeking the good of others.

In the coming days, as Irma makes its way through our homes, we will have many opportunities to live out the exhortation of St. Paul to the Romans. We may even have to engage in fraternal correction when we see some of our brothers and sisters misbehaving. May the Lord give us the grace we need to be patient in the face of adversity and eager to show solidarity with everybody, especially those who may suffer more than we do on account of this natural phenomenon.

In the Roman Missal there is a section with prayers for civil needs, including one prayer for a Mass asking for an end to storms, which we have been praying at St. Patrick since last Wednesday.

“O God, to whose command all the elements give obedience, we humbly entreat you, that the stilling of fearsome storms may turn a powerful menace into an occasion for us to praise you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit one God, for ever and ever.” Amen!

Be safe! Let us pray for one another! Let us pray especially for those who are hurting, those in harm’s way and for the first respondents!

 

Fr. Roberto M. Cid