We live in a society where there is much hate, where some people thrive on it, and are energized by it. But if you are a person of truth, if your life is based on the goodness of God, you will realize pretty quickly that this way of thinking is ungodly; it is evil.
In this era of the electronic age, we have instant communication at the touch of a button. If someone decides to do an erratic act, within seconds it is known throughout the world. The message is often exaggerated, like gossip, and then the media frenzy begins, from blogging to our newsrooms...it’s endless, everyone wanting to have their say. The truth is often forgotten as we witness more people hating one another rather than loving one another.
What did Jesus die on the cross for? For us. For loving everyone despite their faith belief. Jesus didn't see that as an obstacle. He was looking for faith and he found a lot of it in the unbelievers. We claim to believe, we have faith, we say we accept Jesus Christ, we are Christian, we are Roman Catholics, but what does that mean when some of us constantly hate, or even promote hatred by words and deeds? Is it not a contradiction to what Jesus died for? Did he die in vain? Are we losing the great call to holiness, forgiveness, love, compassion, peace, joy, respect, and dignity to all?
This might be an occasion for a great re-awakening of those who claim to be Christian; a time for inner reflection focusing on the One who gave His life for us, Jesus Christ. It is one thing to say, "I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST," but on another level, in a moment of distraction, hatred sets in for another who is different than us. Hate and belief in Jesus Christ are opposites. Many Christians and Catholics justify hate, even as they pray to Jesus for direction in their lives. This way of thinking is a contradiction to the truth of the One born of the Virgin Mary, the God of Jesus Christ!
St. Paul, in the Letter to Timothy today, puts all this into perspective. The first line brings us all back to reality. Paul is challenging us all to pray for everyone through petitions and thanksgivings. Is this not powerful to be challenged to pray for everyone, not just us Christians, but everyone; Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Catholics, and all humanity? Sometimes we are very selfish in our prayers and petitions, but Paul is saying we need to pray for everyone so,
''That we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.'' 1 Timothy 2:2
When we focus our prayer upon everyone, Paul tells us this is very pleasing to our God,
''Who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.'' 1 Timothy 2:4
How often we think we are the only ones to be saved, since we have the truth. God’s desire is to have everyone saved. That will only come about when all of us who proclaim Jesus as Lord pray for everyone. Why not start today, praying for our Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world; for their families and children, their sick and dying, their old and young. They too need our prayers as we need theirs. Listen to the last line from Paul, it is awesome!
''It is my wish, then, that in every place, the men (and women) should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument." 1 Timothy 2:8
Can you just imagine if every single person in the world today focused on prayer from the heart, which Paul promotes here with us today? Can you just imagine the miracles that might take place? Hate, fear and doubts will never bring lasting peace,
JESUS SHOWS US THE ONLY WAY.........LOVE!
I would like to see more families at Mass on Sunday. Please make every effort to come to Mass and give witness to your children on the great faith you received from your parents, or those who inspired you in your faith journey. Why not make that extra effort and make Sunday a Holy Day for your family and attend Mass? Thanks to those parents who bring their kids to church every Sunday, and all during the summer vacation. You know who you are! I want you to know I am very impressed with your witness to your faith and to your children, God bless you!
Welcome to any visitors here this week, especially our friends of other faith beliefs, I know you are present here Sunday after Sunday and I want you to know you are loved by God and us. Please pray for us in return.
Please do not forget all those who are sick, especially the homebound, God bless you all!
Many thanks to all those who prayed for Deacon Roger over the months of his sickness, for those who helped Mary Ellen in anyway, dropping off meals and whatever else was needed, for those who stayed overnight with Deacon while Mary Ellen tried to have a nights sleep, for those who visited him regularly, for one of our parishioners who played music to him. For our kids who sent him batches of well wish cards and simple notes of healing and encouragement. How caring was all this outreach to someone in need, a perfect example of the Discipleship of Jesus in action. Thank you all!
On Monday, I return to Ireland for my vacation, Fr. Bill is returning from his next Thursday, please support him while I am away. I will meet him in Dublin for dinner on Wednesday next the day before he returns to OLR.
I am looking forward to meeting my family and friends in my home County of Kerry. Weather will be much cooler than here in Long Beach but so relaxing to be home.
Pray for me as I pray for you.
Enrollment in Faith Direct has continued to grow at Our Lady of Refuge. There are now 85 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.
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