Pastor's Messages

January 16, 2022 - 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Greetings my brothers and sisters in Christ,

 

“Do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:5)

 

I remember as a child telling a lie to my mother and later on in the day my mother catching me out on the lie, leaving me embarrassed and feeling sorry.

 

As you well know, our mothers know everything about us, often the things we think they don’t know. Mothers somehow have that innate sense of what is going on in our lives.

 

The bond between a mother and child is so strong. From that little fertilized egg in the womb, to new birth, that first cry and smile, the first tooth, and first step and all the way up to maturity, our mothers journey along with us in the ups and downs of life; loving us, caring for us, and rejoicing in us.

 

The exact same can be said of Mary in our Gospel account today, with the very popular wedding feast at Cana. Weddings are always a great time for rejoicing and celebrating in every culture throughout the history of humanity. People gather, family and friends, new clothes, music, prayers, tears, emotions, memories, laughter, smiles, food, drink, dancing, happiness, hope, and love.

 

The wedding which Jesus and Mary attended was no exception. It was a happy occasion of rejoicing and celebrating. Look how Mary enters the Heart of Jesus in her statement, “They have no wine.”

 

Just imagine her facial expression, just imagine your own mother coming to you in a similar situation. Jesus’ reaction was very normal; we would do it ourselves, “What’s this to do with Me?”

 

But the mother of Jesus knew Him all too well; she knew He was a special child of God. She often pondered in her heart this child of hers and what He would achieve. It’s like Mary knew, as a mother knows, that all would be okay. Mary never commented on His reply that this was not His hour, but instead she just passed over these words and waited patiently. Mary knew that Jesus had the power to change this situation of embarrassment into a situation of great joy, a powerful miracle of water changing into the best wine and saving the wedding party from utter disgrace.

 

How beautiful for Jesus, through the promptings of His mother, that He would perform His first of the great signs of His mission and reveal His true self at a wedding, a place of love, life and hope. In Mary’s proclamation to “do whatever HE tells you” is a challenge to all of us followers of Jesus Christ to put His GOSPEL OF LOVE into action; to build up the KINGDOM OF GOD here on earth; to live GOOD LIVES in harmony with one another; to speak LOVE rather than hatred. To do whatever Jesus tells us is to share our gifts with one another, spiritual gifts given by the SAME SPIRIT, SAME LORD, SAME GOD, for the good of all.

 

St. Paul, in the second reading today, wrote this letter to the early disciples of the church in Corinth, a very busy sea port. He challenged them to share their spiritual gifts with one another for the building up of the church there; so it’s the same with us. All of us have received different types of gifts from God to use for the benefit of ourselves and others; this is what makes a strong community.

 

I am constantly inspired by so many people here at the parish sharing their many gifts for the good of this community. Many professionals give of their time and energy, advising me on all matters concerning the management of our parish community. I deeply value their input and their willingness to share their time, talent and treasure with this great community. This is what St. Paul wrote about in the second reading today...sharing the GOD-GIVEN GIFTS to the entire community for the good of that community.

 

I salute all the parishioners who do that on a daily basis here. God bless you for listening to the call of the Lord.

 

If you feel you would like to volunteer your expertise, your talents here at Our Lady of Refuge, why not call me and volunteer? We need you!

 

Welcome to any visitors here this week and a special welcome to those of you from other faith traditions.

 

Blessings upon all.

 

Love,

Fr. Gerard 

 

 

“Every time we use religion to draw a line to keep people out, Jesus is with the people on the other side of that line.”
- Hugh L. Hollowell
 
 
Faith Direct
 

Enrollment in Faith Direct has continued to grow at Our Lady of Refuge. There are now more families participating in electronic giving through Faith Direct’s convenient tool.  When combined with "bill pay" donations, total electronic giving at OLR represents about 27% of the offertory collections. 

 

Giving through Faith Direct lowers the costs associated with our weekly collections by eliminating envelope fees and by requiring less effort to count and deposit money. Electronic giving is a secure way to transmit money while being environmentally conscious. Our parish receives your contribution when you are traveling, sick, or in a rush. Your contribution amount is flexible; as you can give by the week or month and designate donations for specific purposes. It also improves our cash flow and the ability to project our income to match our expenses.

 

Faith Direct enables parishioners to make contributions through either direct debit from a checking/savings account or through a credit card. Now you can apply the convenience of direct debit to your parish offerings in much the same way as you may now use it to make your mortgage, car or tuition payments. This allows you to budget with a ‘set and forget' plan, as the donations recur on a defined schedule.

 

Electronic giving means you do not have to stop at the bank, carry cash or checks, or remember to write a check before coming to Mass. Faith Direct also offers you personalized offertory cards (if desired) to replace your envelopes for the collection basket. You can easily track your giving and know that your donations go directly to the bank. Any time during the year, you have access to records of your donations from both the bank and Faith Direct for tax reporting purposes.

 

For those of you who have yet to consider online giving, enrollment will be a continuing effort.  Please visit the OLR website at https://www.ourladyofrefuge.org/ or visit the Faith Direct website at https://membership.faithdirect.net/CA966. There is a short video and you can read more information about this great way to simplify your giving.

 

As your shepherd, I encourage you to consider Faith Direct. Please help us make our parish financially strong again. Thanks to all of you for your continued support of our parish.

 

 In peace, Fr. Gerard