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24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sept. 17, 2017

“I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?” The parable Jesus tells today is the story of a king, but in truth it is about Jesus Himself. He is the “king” who has forgiven our debts. We are the “servants” whose sins have earned us chastisement. But when we repent and ask for Christ’s mercy, He grants it to us without hesitation. The point of the parable, then, is that we too should extend this mercy to others. We should not be like that “wicked servant” who begged for mercy but would not show it to others. Elsewhere, Jesus teaches us to pray, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” (Mt. 6:12). We use different words, but a similar meaning when we pray the Our Father asking God to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” But are we sure that we mean what we say? It’s important to pause and evaluate how we are doing in this regard. Are we harboring any grudges? Are there people we refuse to forgive? Is there a situation where we are seeking revenge instead of extending mercy? Jesus asks us to do otherwise. He reminds us that we have already been forgiven. We are right now enjoying the benefits of His forgiveness. So we are called to bear in mind our own sins, failings, weaknesses, and “debts” when we deal with others instead of thinking that we are perfectly innocent and acting as if we’ve never been the beneficiary of mercy. So let us do our best to forgive as we have been forgiven. This doesn’t mean approving of wrong behavior; God doesn’t ask us to do that. But He does ask us to let go of bitterness and foster mercy instead.
FROM THE RECTORY:
I know most people see Labor Day weekend as the last weekend of summer. However, technically this weekend is the last weekend of summer for autumn starts on Friday September 22nd. I have had many people going into mourning over the passing of another summer. There were tears and gnashing of teeth…well maybe not that bad but close. However, I pointed out to them that autumn is such a beautiful season with the changing of leaves. I personally find beauty in every season. However, I understand where these people are coming from especially since one of them is my own mother. She pointed out that as nice as autumn can be, what follows is winter which is dark, cold and everything is dead or appears dead. This is true, but, spring follows winter when everything comes alive again…the flowers are blooming, the trees are sprouting new leaves. Life is very much like the seasons. When we lose a loved one it is like winter for us, for all seems dark, cold and dead. However, for our loved ones they have moved onto spring. Life for them is new again, everything is blooming, bright and beautiful. See, the end of a season or the end of a life is not really an end but rather a beginning. Let us always take comfort in knowing this and knowing that when our lives come to an end we, if faithful and live the way Christ taught us, will enter into our new spring. A spring that will last for all eternity.
God Bless you and have a wonderful week, Fr. Michael

LIVE THE LITURGY
Relationships are difficult, requiring honesty, dialogue, respect, and tolerance. We can easily offend one another, even by doing the simplest of things. Feelings can be hurt and relationships can become hurtful. Sometimes, our own wounds end up wounding others. When division or discord results, rather than responding with anger, judgment, and vindication, Jesus instructs us to be compassionate, tolerant, respectful, and forgiving. We can do this even when we have to confront someone with the truth, which may not always be well received. Even with our brokenness, we are all an image of God and should do all in our power to properly resolve conflicts.
SCRIPTURAL REFLECTIONS ON STEWARDSHIP
Many of us are generous with our gifts. However, how often is our generosity at the minimum level required? We do just enough or give just enough. Remember, the Lord calls us to be generous with all the gifts He has given us, to grow them and return them with increase.

 The gift of Bread & Wine for the second two weeks of September has been given in memory of Fr. Patrick Breheny by Ellen Breheny.
The gift of Altar Flowers for the month of September has been given in memory of Andrew Napotina, Jr. by Velona Napotina.
The Sanctuary Lamp for the month of September has been given in memory of
Cecelia Jashembowski by Linda J. Sylvestri.

  REMEMBER OUR MEMBERS IN YOUR PRAYERS
Please pray for: Kellie & Kathy Salata, Kelly Chinchar, Jessica, Carol Mangino, Gloria, Daniel Breslin, Stanley, Marie, Bonnie, Helen Traina, Joseph Marrone, Bill Marshall, Anthony, Michael, Denise Gautier, Joseph.

It is the best way to ensure our parish receives the support needed for our operating expenses and ministries? eGiving through Parish Giving! We are excited to introduce “Enhanced Stewardship through Electronic Funds Transfer” for your weekly offertory. No more envelopes or last-minute check writing! Electronic giving is safe and easy for you and good stewardship for the parish. Please enroll today by visiting www.icchackensack.com. and click on the logo that is on top of the website. Increased enrollment with Parish Giving will help stabilize our parish finances. There are brochures in the pews or visit Parish Giving at www.parishgiving.org

OUR ADVERTISERS OF THE WEEK
Our parish benefits greatly from the ads you see on the back of our bulletin. The revenue pays for its printing, which is an important means of communication for the parish. We thank the local businesses that have renewed their ads, as well as the new advertisers who have recently signed on. Please look on the last page of our bulletin each week during the coming months where we highlight a different advertiser with a special ad space as a ‘thank you’ for their support all year long. When you visit a business that advertises in our Faith Formation Program Registration Form[397] bulletin, please let them know that this is where you saw their ad.

RAINBOWS FOR ALL GOD’S CHILDREN
Our Lady of the Visitation Parish in Paramus will once again offer the Rainbows program. This program is a weekly support group for children, 1st-8th grades, who are living in single-parent homes or have families that are going through painful transitions. When something significant happens in a family, the entire family is affected. If a parent dies or a divorce occurs, not only do the parents grieve, but the children do also. Because of their age and short life experience, children find it extremely difficult to verbalize those feelings. This program has some very beautiful, sensitive, caring, trained adults who have said “yes” to helping these children put these feelings into words, work through their grief, build a stronger sense of self-esteem, and begin to accept what has taken place in the family. The program is free to any child who needs it. Sessions begin in October. To facilitate the book order, you need to register as soon as possible. Contact Patricia Pattermann at 201-265-3812.

WANTED

Singers for children’s choir and adult choir.