Summary of today’s show: Scot Landry and Fr. Mark O’Connell are joined by Domenico Bettinelli to discuss the Parable of the Life-saving Station and to consider whether our Church—our dioceses, our parishes, and our parishioners—have lost the sense of their true mission to evangelize the world and to render true worship to God as a community of faith. What is essential about the Church? Have we lost sight of the way? These considers and more are considered as well as this coming Sunday’s readings from Mass.
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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry and Fr. Mark O’Connell
Today’s guest(s): Domenico Bettinelli
Today’s topics: The Church’s essential mission: The Parable of the Life-saving Station
1st segment: Scot Landry welcomed Dom Bettinelli to the show and noted that the computer network in our building is shutting down at 5:30 and Dom will have to race to get the shownotes posted by then. (The shownotes will be abbreviated today as Dom will be taking part in the discussion.)
Fr. Mark O’Connell also noted that he’s been the master of ceremonies for Bishop Walter Edyvean’s confirmations for many years, but this past weekend he participated from the pews as the sponsor of his niece. Scot asked if he’s her favorite uncle. Fr. Mark said it’s the first time he’s ever been a confirmation sponsor.
Fr. Mark said he didn’t see any flaws or need for improvement in Bishop Edyvean’s confirmation Masses observing from the pew this time as opposed to be at the altar.
Scot and Fr. Mark also discussed the Red Mass, Cardinal Seán’s homily, and the talk by Rep. Chris Smith from New Jersey at the luncheon after. Fr. Mark said it was an amazing pro-life talk from Smith.
Scot said today we’ll be talking about the Parable of the Life-saving Station.
2nd segment: Scot said he was pointed to this parable by a fundraising consultant, who said he used it with Christian churches to ask what they’re really about and what they want to be.
Parable of the Life-Saving Station
On a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Some of those who were saved and various others in the surrounding area wanted to become associated with the station and gave of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little life-saving station grew.
Some of the members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully because they used it as a sort of club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. The life-saving motif still prevailed in the club’s decorations, and there was a liturgical life-boat in the room where the club’s initiations were held. About this time a large ship wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower house build outside the club where victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside.
At the next meeting, there was a split among the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon life-saving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station. So they did.
As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet another life-saving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that sea coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.
Highlights from the discussion: It’s a part of human nature to want to turn inward to the ones we know and exclude those we don’t.
How many of our parishes started as a few people gathering together in a mission?
Do we outsource faith formation to others? Do we point to others as being responsible for faith formation and evangelization?
The Church has been described today as a life-saving station, a club, a team, and a family, but it’s as a family that we have the truer identity.
The primary mission of the Church is the salvation of souls and we do that in a variety of ways.
3rd segment: Now as we do every week at this time, we will consider the Mass readings for this Sunday, specifically the Gospel reading.
- First Reading for the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 7, 2012 (Genesis 2:18-24)
The LORD God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a suitable partner for him.”
So the LORD God formed out of the ground
various wild animals and various birds of the air,
and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them;
whatever the man called each of them would be its name.
The man gave names to all the cattle,
all the birds of the air, and all wild animals;
but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.
So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man,
and while he was asleep,
he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib
that he had taken from the man.
When he brought her to the man, the man said:
“This one, at last, is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called ‘woman,’
for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother
and clings to his wife,
and the two of them become one flesh.
- Second Reading for the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 7, 2012 (Hebrews 2:9-11)
Brothers and sisters:
He “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,”
that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting that he,
for whom and through whom all things exist,
in bringing many children to glory,
should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.
He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated
all have one origin.
Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them ‘brothers.’
- Gospel for the Twenty-seventh Sunda in Ordinary Time, October 7, 2012 (Mark 10:2-16)
The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”
And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
“Let the children come to me;
do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to
such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it.”
Then he embraced them and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.