The Greatest and First Commandment


The Lord’s call is meant to elicit a total response. That response is not expected from just a few of us, but from all of us. Mother Teresa said as much when she exclaimed in the simplest of words, “Holiness is not the luxury of the few. It is a simple duty for you and for me.” Although we impede the divine call in countless ways, even the young interlocutor of Jesus in today’s Gospel knew well that the response that God deserves and demands is love entails one’s whole heart, soul, mind and strength. In short, the keeping of the greatest commandment—the command to love as God loves—is not for the half-hearted or lazy-minded. Holiness is, as T.S. Eliot would have it, “a condition of complete simplicity (Costing not less than everything)”.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have been blessed as a parish to host two special visitors on a couple of different occasions. Archbishop Hebda was at Holy Cross on October 12th for a special evening called a Miriam Dinner meant to enkindle in young women who attend an openness to think about the real possibility of a call to consecrated religious life. On October 19th he returned to celebrate the one-year anniversary Mass at St. Anthony of Padua Chapel for the TCU at Catholic Elder Care. This weekend Bishop Cozzens is present with us at the 9:30 am Mass at Holy Cross to celebrate a formal welcome to the five women in residence at the Holy Cross Convent who are the founding members of the Bethany Discernment House. These episcopal visits have been a grace for our parish, but also a reminder from our spiritual fathers and the Shepherds of our local church to not stop short of giving a sincere and complete gift of ourselves in response to the Lord’s personal call upon our lives.

As we enter upon the month of November, a time of year focused on the ultimate realities and eternal truths, we would do well to consider what might be holding us back in our full response to God. All of us are called, invited to the beatitude and  joy of all the saints we will commemorate with the great Solemnity of All Saints. All of us will one day meet the Lord face to face, a truth brought to bear by the sacred observance of the Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed and its Octave as well as the civic observance of Veteran’s Day. The month will conclude with our national day of Thanksgiving and the triumphal feast of Christ the King. Let us ask how we might live more fully lives of gratitude and act upon the knowledge of His Kingship.

Please see the times in this bulletin for the Holy Day Masses and a few additional Masses for All Souls Day. Make a sincere effort to be present to keep these feasts and to respond to your call to love the Lord as generously as He deserves. Note that we are trying some new times, including an ‘early bird 6:15 am Mass’ at St. Clement that should allow for students and commuters to attend. Note that the full month of November is a most fitting time to make prayerful visits to cemeteries near and far. We remember well that “All gave some; Some gave all.” In a few weeks we will celebrate one of our parish patrons, St. Clement the martyr pope who gave all and enjoins us from the vantage point of all the saints, to give no less than all.

Perhaps we could pray together, as we are blessed by the presence of religious, seminarians and those discerning—both young and old—to consider how we might be called to give more in our response to God’s call. Consider using the below prayer for vocations, realizing that by praying it, you pray that your own response may be full and sincere.

Through the intercession of all the holy men and women of every time and place,
may the blessing of Almighty God come down upon you!

Fr. Howe

P.S. Two final notes: Please avail yourselves of the access to the online catechetical and faith based resources found on It is our gift to you, and we hope that you log-in and see all that is on offer through this platform sometimes described as a ‘Catholic Netflix’. Secondly, please notice that beginning this week we will regularly note the source or citation for the bulletin cover image of the week before. It is just one way to keep you in suspense and encourage people coming week to week!