Pastor’s Corner for the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, by Fr. Patrick Nolan SJ

In Genesis 18, Abraham and Sarah have gone forth from their homeland, and they find themselves by the oak of Mamre. One day, three strangers appear at their tent. Abraham springs into action and makes his guests feel at home. He offers to wash their feet, slaughters the fatted calf, and asks Sarah to make some bread. While this preparation is taking place, one of the strangers tells Abraham and Sarah, that despite their age, in a year they will be blessed with a baby, for “nothing is too marvelous for the Lord to do.”


Hospitality and blessing are two of the main themes of this story, the focus for this past Monday’s Bible Study. Hospitality and blessing also describe my month-long experience here at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. A month ago, I came here a stranger, and you have “extended your tent” (Is 54:2) to include me and welcome me. I was struck by how many times I had been asked to bless items purchased at Gabriel’s little religious goods stand in the carpark, yet I feel like I have been the recipient of so many blessings this month.


One parishioner said, “I hope you have a received a taste of what parish life is like.” I certainly have. I have tasted delicious meals cooked by parishioners and by Fr. Bruce in Trinity House. On Tuesday mornings, I’ve sipped coffee with dedicated Holy Trinity staff after our meetings.


Monday nights I broke bread with Br. Sechaba and parish volunteers to serve those living on the streets. We closed the evening by washing the soup cups, just a priest purifies the sacred vessels after communion. What a Eucharistic sign to have a meal after breaking open the scriptures together!


At school Masses, I heard the beautiful singing and active participation of young learners. I attended faculty meetings and helped teachers reflect on how Christ was present in their classrooms and in their support for each other and for the students.


The smell of incense at Sunday morning prayer, the 9:30am Mass, and Wesley’s funeral reminded me of all the prayers that ascend to the heavens from this community.


Finally, seeing your faces at Mass recalled the words from Eucharistic Prayer III about how the Lord gives us life, makes us holy, and never ceases to gather a people to himself.


The stained glass on the right side above the altar shows the scene from 2 Kings 2:9, one of my favorite passages in the Bible. Before his mentor Elijah is taken up into heaven, Elisha asks him for a double portion of his spirit. As I finish my tertianship program and head back to the States, your hospitality and blessing have been the double portion of spirit that I will take with me for the rest of my Jesuit life. May God continue to bless you, your families, and the Holy Trinity Catholic Community.


Fr. Patrick Nolan SJ