From the Pastor's Pen
From the Pastor's Pen - July 5th
Against the backdrop of rising vandalism and unrest, the Nation comes to celebrate the 244th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence from Britain. Normally on every July 4th, people set themselves to great patriotic displays and family events throughout the United States. Would that be the case this year? I wonder what our forefathers and mothers would say to this Nation at this juncture! Would they congratulate the Governors of this nation, who describe violence and vandalism as “healthy expressions” of people? Or would they be appalled to hear it said by those who have taken the solemn oath to preserve the freedom and protect the lives and property of people? What would become of July 4th this year? Who knows, the clamor to erase that may not be too distant!
No doubt, this is a painful moment for all. To me, it looks that both leaders and the public have lost focus on the real issues. Which nation is free from the painful memories of its birthing. Like every individual, each nation also goes through painful birthing process. Because, it has been painful, we don’t go back to cut off or remove the birth canal. The monuments erected in the earlier times do carry memories, not only of pain but of hope as well. They stand to tell our generation a story of hope and a new future. A narrow perception is the problem. It, in fact, ushers in a sense of hopelessness. Can violence ever bring peace or hope? The world does not offer lasting hope.
The Sacred Scripture never fails to offer hope. To the wearied and the burdened, Jesus invites: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). Yet, many choose not to hear it, let alone “yoke” with him to “find the rest” Jesus offers. Jesus’s invitation has a specific context: Ordinary people were weighed down with the externalism and the legal do’s and don'ts of the Pharisees. The Pharisees basically said, “do as we say, obey our system,” but the Lord Jesus said, “come to me.” What’s His Point? He is the source of enduring hope. This brings home one of the great concepts of Christianity that must be taught and grasped. Christianity is a relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. Therefore, Jesus’s invitation is not a call to a program, nor a system of religion, nor to a church, and certainly not to some human leader. For those who are already believers, it is a call to follow him as a committed disciple; it is a call to completely turn their lives over to Him. For those without the Savior, it is equivalent to a call to believe in Him.
Most Americans claim to be Christians. Yet, many households in this Country would find a son, daughter or a grandchild who claim to be agnostic and atheist. I have listened to the heart breaking stories of several parents and grandparents who are saddened by this reality. Our faith teaches that in Jesus, God has come to us as savior. For those without the Savior, the invitation - come to me - is equivalent to a call to believe in Him. Pray that all of us grow in personal relationship with Jesus. Pray that our young people come to experience more the person of Jesus at a deeper level. I find several young people coming to Confession - some, even after long years. This past week, I was called to the hospital. Normally, the calls are for anointing, but this time, it was for Confession! The woman found rest in Jesus’s mercy! I had the joy of anointing and also giving holy communion to her! What a rest she found! I see people coming to mass; and receiving the Eucharist with immense fervor. What a rest they find! Come to me, Jesus invites. In him, no one would be disappointed!
FROM THE PASTOR's PEN - JULY 12th
Amidst the struggles of our daily lives and that of many in our nation, we too move on, facing the challenges as a Parish community. Many good things have also happened during this time. People have given time, talent and treasure to the upkeep of our Parish. I offer my gratitude to God for the gift of all of you. Each of you render your mite in making this community a place of hope and joyful service. We are blessed in many ways. There’s always a reason to be grateful.
Happy news! In the Fall, Regis schools will be opened. This news would be a relief to families and children. Preparations are being done by the committed team of administrators and teachers. I request all parents to work together with them so that our schools will be able to provide a better future for our children. We also rejoice to have Joan Cinotto as Director of Religious Education. As we warmly welcome her to our community, let us pledge our collaboration to enhance the Faith formation, the central mission of our Parish. Everything that we do here should help all of us to draw closer to the person of Christ. I place on record the yeomen service of Linda Corey who served this community devoutly for 32 years in that position. We wish her a happy retirement. Hopefully, in the nearest future, we will have the opportunity to express our gratitude to her at a common gathering.
As uncertainty continues on, we are not yet sure of the 75th Jubilee Year celebrations. The next Pastoral Council meeting, scheduled to be held on July 28th will discuss and take appropriate decisions. If any parishioner has a suggestion with regard to the concluding celebration of the Jubilee year, please send it to me or to the Parish office email. Your suggestions might be very helpful to arriving at a final decision. In the last meeting of the Parish council, we also discussed the outcome of the Parish Census. A number of steps were taken to reach out to all parishioners who were in our Data base. I thank all those who assisted in this process. The Parish Council has approved making Parishioners that did not reply to the Census inactive. The current numbers for membership according to the Census is furnished elsewhere in this bulletin. I hope everyone will be interested to know the details.
Agricultural language is unfamiliar to most of the young people today. It wasn’t the case with the previous generations, who were mostly born and raised in the Farms. Prophet Isaiah uses agricultural imagery to teach the truths of God’s abiding love for his people. He compares Yahweh’s actions to rain and snow that come from heaven. The message was that the return of the exiles will be imminent like the rain which arrives quickly, accomplishes its tasks and then returns to heaven. God’s Word achieves its purpose precisely the same way. And for the exiles, it was news of great joy. The parable of the Sower is a seemingly illustration of the power of God’s Word. Daily reading of the Bible must become more of a practice among us Catholics.
St Paul speaks of the sufferings of the present time. We have them in abundance - the Pandemic has unleashed untold sufferings. This compounds the human sufferings that are already part of our daily living in the world. Paul’s usage - “the whole creation is groaning” - fits so well to our times and what’s going on across the world. Christian hope survives every disaster in life. The Scripture passages keep us hope filled. We move on as a community of hope, groaning with the whole of creation, turned toward Christ the Lord. Let no one distract our focus; and let nothing take away our hope.