July 30, 2023 - 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Greetings my good friends,
This weekend is known as Mission Sunday, when a missionary talks at all the Masses and shares his experiences of Mission in Action; normally he is from another country. We welcome Fr. Musinguzi (who prefers to be called Fr. Bosco) from Rwanda this weekend.
Let us all attentively listen to his message and support him financially in the second collection. This parish has always been generous at all our prior mission appeals so thank you all so much.
Imagine God coming to you tonight in a dream and saying to you,
“Choose something and I will give it to you.”
What would you choose?
For some, it might be prosperity, for others health, for others peace, maybe a partner, or a good husband or father, maybe a mother or a wife. Some might ask for a new baby, or job satisfaction, or a nice home, or total happiness. I could go on and on with things I would like!
Look at Solomon in the first reading today; he had that dream. God came to him and asked him,
“What do you want?”
Solomon, being very young, and knowing that he was chosen to succeed his father, King David, requested something beautiful and deep.
“Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.” (1 Kings 3:9)
All Solomon wanted was “an understanding heart” to judge wisely.
We all know that having an understanding heart when dealing with others, particularly when we have disagreements with them, helps us to solve issues faster. Without the heart and the knowledge in a situation, small issues often become major problems.
Solomon, knowing that he was inexperienced because of his youth, and the fact he was about to take on a major responsibility in governing God’s chosen people, asked for a tool that would help him to be just, loving, and caring of the people of God.
Scripture tells us God was very happy with Solomon's request because the request was also a test to see if this future king would choose wisely when offered an opportunity for growth.
Maybe in our petitions to God, asking for this and that, we ought to think wisely too. Since God is the One Who created all of us, both the good and the bad, God wants the best for all of us.
I’ll bet God wants us all to have hearts full of understanding of His will while here on earth. He wants us to judge wisely like King Solomon, and be able “to distinguish right from wrong.”
You know that some people are hard-hearted individuals; they refuse to judge wisely and condemn one another, often in the wrong.
Why not be open to the ways of God?
His ways are holy. Why do we stray from the way of the Lord?
Why do we have problems in choosing the good over the bad?
Why do we have so many disagreements with others when God wants us to forgive, make peace, and move forward with hope?
It all goes back to that offer from God to choose something. All too often we are blind to the truth; we dwell in the superficial and think that we can attain true happiness from having “things” rather than faith in the One Who knows all.
Solomon chose wisely.
How will you choose?
The parish is in great need of Lectors to read the Word of God at Sunday Masses and also Ministers of the Eucharist. Please volunteer! We need you so badly! Young adults, think about it; your active presence in the church is needed. Call the rectory or speak with a lector or Minister of Communion after Mass. (562) 498-6641
Blessings upon all our ministries. Thank you all for serving the Lord at OLR.
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.
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