We begin the tenth week of Ordinary Time. The major theme of the readings for this Sunday is sin, which is offense against God and one another. When we sin, we violate God’s Commandments—we distance ourselves from Him; when we refuse, or fear, to admit our sins, we deny ourselves God’s offer of pardon and forgiveness.
In describing Adam and Eve’s first sin, disobedience, the first reading, taken from Genesis, explains the beginning of evil in the world with its destructive results. The loving relationship joining man to God is destroyed, and the relationship of mutual love between Adam and Eve is weakened. Their default to a “blame game” allowed each to avoid taking personal responsibility for their joint choice. In the second reading, Paul declares to the Corinthians that the many adversities of his missionary work were part of God’s plan for his spiritual growth. His sufferings, offered with Jesus for the Salvation of the world, would result in a glorious reward for him and for all believers. This week’s Gospel passage reveals how Jesus Himself was misunderstood by His own relatives and was criticized, slandered and rejected by the scribes and Pharisees. His suffering for us gives us courage, and His offer of healing, strength and forgiveness, allows us to do as He did when we face challenges to our faith.
Very often our friends, families, or people close to us fail to listen and accept the words of grace, love and encouragement that we offer to them because they are too familiar with us. The liturgy reminds that we have to face such rejection with prophetic courage because, by our Baptism we are called to live a prophetic life, sharing God’s mission. As prophets, our task is to speak the truth and oppose the evils in our society.
Two weeks ago in my column in the bulletin I gave a brief update on our roofing project. I received many positive responses from parishioners. Please know that I am greatly encouraged by your support. As you all know, we started raising funds several months ago. In reviewing the donor lists, I noticed that several of you are very close to achieving a donation that would qualify you for a leaf or a rock on the “Giving Tree” located in the back of the church. The parish office has a list of donors. If you would like to confirm the amount of your donation, please contact Bob Ulrich at the parish office. He will be able to tell you the amount of your donation and the balance you may need to donate to get a leaf or a rock on our tree. A rock or leaf on the tree is a wonderful way to remember and honor someone you love.
I am pleased to inform you that I have signed the contract for the work on both the roof and air conditioning. We also had a preconstruction meeting with all contractors and engineers. Due to unexpected developments, there will be a variation in the air conditioning work. We have learned that the existing structure will not be able to hold the new units. Because the weight specifications for the new HVAC units were more that 105% of the weight of the old units, the county requires structural plans for units that are more than 105% of the weight of the old units to be replaced. A structural engineer examined the flat roof areas to determine what needs to be done. He indicated that the roof structure does not meet current requirements to hold the existing units and needs to be strengthened. He is drawing up plans to strengthen the flat roof up to the requirements for the new units; this should ensure that we do not have to do the work more than once. The committee estimates that it will take approximately 6 months to get the new units approved through the county planning process. The existing units and ducting were inspected, and they appeared to be in good shape, according to the contractors. The roofing committee agreed after discussion that the best course of action is to remove and replace the existing units, while at the same time strengthening the roof. Any excess funds will be designated for HVAC work in the future. At this time, it is impossible to know the extent of damage that will be found once the roofing is removed or the cost of repairing any such damage. Because of the unknown nature of the work and the cost involved, in addition to the fact that we have not met our goal of $800,000, removal and replacement of the HVAC units was the best option.
The work is scheduled to begin on June 18th. We will still be able to use the church for Masses during the construction, but we will not have air conditioning for a few weeks. Please bear with me; I will do everything possible to reduce inconveniences. We worked out a timeline at the preconstruction meeting, and if there are no unforeseen problems, we should be able to complete the work by July 31. I am looking forward to completing the work and to seeing a new roof on our iconic church. I will keep you posted on the progress.