Pastor's Pen, 6th Regular Sunday

First things first, as you know we just finished a wonderful week of activities in celebration of our feast, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. We had over 30 come to see the movie, “The Song of Bernadette,” 350 for the fiesta and a packed church for a celebration of the Feast Mass on Tuesday. This weekend we’re having a Ministry Fair in order that every parishioner can know the different Church groups and to have an opportunity to join in something if they would like. All these activities are not able to happen by themselves, it takes great effort and generosity on the part of others. And so, on behalf of the parish, I would like to thank everyone who has helped and participated. I think we can say that God’s Kingdom has grown. These activities were in celebration of two things: the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the community. We can have many understandings of Church, but I think the one that best fits us is that of communion, that is, community. In order to be a communion we cannot be a mere collection of individuals or individual groups, but must strive to be friends in the Lord. Our church is big and so it means that there are many people who we don’t know. These days have allowed us the chance to get to know each other, to get to know each other better and to love each other more. This is the strength of our church.

Before saying Mass I always say a little prayer to myself. I ask God to help me, in that every thought I have, every word I speak and every action I undertake, I may love. In this week’s readings we have strong language of contrast. The Prophet Sirach says “Before each person are life and death, good and evil and whichever one chooses, that shall be given.” And in the Gospel, Jesus has not freed us from the Law, but has rather said that mere duty is insufficient, that we are called to more. We avoid tension like the plague. We think tension within our faith life is something bad. Yet tension arisen with the experience that perhaps our opinions, our understandings and our ways of proceeding have reached their limits and an opportunity for greater growth in holiness and love is being put before us and as Sirach says, we must choose. My favorite word from St Ignatius of Loyola is “Magis,” that all is for God’s greater glory. This means that we never put the car in cruise control; we never think that we have this faith thing together. Rather, we always seek the more, to love more, to forgive more, to serve more, to care more. No words can ever tell us who we fully are. Though helpful, the words of the Catechism reach their limit; though helpful, the words of our Mission Statement reach their limit. There is for us only one true guide. There is only one thing and that is he love that God pours into our hearts. It is our choice to do what we need to do to make our hearts more open and free to receive God’s tender and infinite love. As a Church we refuse death. We choose life. As a Church we refuse to choose evil. We choose good and holiness. As Church we refuse grudges. We choose mercy and forgiveness. As a Church let us choose communion, let us fall deeply in love with each other. And our community will be even more so a place of joy. And in falling more in love with each other, together, let us fall more deeply in love with God. Let us strive for the “Magis,” for more. With every thought we have, let us seek to love. With every word we speak, let us seek to love. With every action we take, let us seek to love.

God Bless and Take Care,
Fr John Sullivan
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