November 22, 2020 - Feast of Christ the King
Greetings my brothers and sisters in Christ,
The Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ the King -- Today is the last Sunday of our Liturgical year. Since last year we have journeyed Sunday after Sunday challenging ourselves to change our ways, live good lives, share with the poor, and be totally Christian to ourselves and our neighbors. Do you think you have achieved this?
I believe all who have a good heart of love, who try their best in putting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to action in their lives, are achieving this. None of us are totally perfect, but all of us can strive towards perfection. Sometimes it takes little steps to change situations, but it’s better to take little steps forward than large steps backward.
Our journey of life is always looking forward to the life to come in heaven. We move on to a new year through the different seasons of the year, new hopes, and possibilities. We live in hope, despite the present worries and uncertainty. Our faith assures us that we will be okay. Despite the many sacrifices, God is always there for us.
Look at the beautiful first reading today from the Prophet Ezekiel; it’s self-explanatory. God is the great shepherd Who is always looking out for us, guiding us, nourishing us, caring for us, and seeking out all those who are lost, rejected, and abandoned. Those who are overly confident, who don’t need God because of success and power, God will show them who has power and will shepherd them rightly. Is this not great consolation as we worry about our society, our environment, and our brothers and sisters in need?
If we truly believe that Jesus is Lord and Son of God, can you just imagine the blessings we are going to receive? All we have to do is trust -- not become God ourselves, or even judge like God, but to put our total faith, hope, and love in the One Who died for us on the cross, Jesus.
The Gospel today, on this special feast of Christ the King, lays down in simple language our mission in life as followers of Jesus Christ. Can you recall when was the last time you encountered a homeless person? Have you ever asked them their names, have you ever shaken their hands, have you ever given them a meal, sat with them in a restaurant, washed their clothes, or even shared a prayer? This gospel today awakens us to the real challenge we face as followers of Jesus. Many of us pick and choose what we like about being a follower of Jesus, but on this last Sunday, when we encounter a kind of contradictory Kingship in Jesus -- we are humbled to walk in His path, sharing His message of love to all. Are you willing to risk yourself for Jesus and His mission of love?
I want to thank all those who volunteered to help with our food drive this weekend. A special thanks to all the parishioners for donating food. This is indeed a very worthy cause, and the Lord is watching over us, just like the parable in the Gospel today.
Next Thursday is Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving will be the most unusual ever in our lives, but despite the unusualness, we are all thankful. We are thankful for our Faith in the Lord. We are thankful for our health and continued health in the midst of Covid. We are thankful for Holy Mass, the Holy Eucharist, our beautiful parish community, and all our parishioners. So many things to be thankful for! Please in these next few days start reflecting on all the things for which you are thankful.
Our Thanksgiving Mass will be recorded for the website or, if you like to attend Mass in person, Mass is celebrated at 9:30 A.M. on Thanksgiving.
Thinking of you all at this time, praying for you, and sending good thoughts.
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