February 28, 2021 - Second Sunday of Lent
Greetings my good friends,
What do we learn from the story of the Transfiguration on this Second Sunday of Lent? It’s very obvious since the Gospel gives us the answer: Jesus is truly the Son of God. This is confirmed by the voice from the cloud. ''THIS IS MY BELOVED SON. LISTEN TO HIM." (Mark 9:7)
Remember, the exact same thing happened as Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River; a similar voice said the same. Peter, James, and John were high on the mountain top and wanted to stay there so they suggested the building of three tents. They were in fear and in awe of having witnessed a powerful encounter with God. Jesus challenged them not to tell anyone about this until He had risen from the dead. We, on the other hand, must tell everyone since Jesus is risen from the dead. Maybe that confirmation by God from the heavens is for us too. ''LISTEN TO HIM'' is our challenge today as we journey through life with the many distractions we face on a daily basis.
In the first reading from Genesis, Abraham is put to the test by God. Now, if God asked you to give up your only son or daughter, would you do it? With his total loyalty and obedience to God, Abraham was willing to offer up his son. This one act of total trust in God shows us, who sometimes lack trust in God, that we ought to realize that our God is truly the God of love and truth, and we should always trust Him.
St. Paul, in the second reading, shows us how much God loves us when He gave up His only Son. And look what happened in that giving! All of us were saved by that one offering of life -- the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
God tells us to ''LISTEN TO HIM,” to listen to the Word of God, to listen to His call to follow Him, to listen to help us make a good decision, to listen to learn about what is right and wrong, to listen to the teachings of the Catholic Church, to listen to our shepherd, Pope Francis, to listen to the truth in life, to listen to Jesus.
Why do we so often make rash judgments about our neighbor, an individual, or a political being? Why do we always want to condemn, to oppress, to gossip, or to share untruths? It is due to the fact that we do listen to God, but we don't put what we hear into practice. His message gets lost in the untruths we seem to embrace. Then we wonder, “Where are you, God? Is this truly You in my life!” But maybe we are listening to another “god” we have formed for ourselves to justify unjust practices.
The Transfiguration confirms that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and we ought to ''LISTEN TO HIM'' if we truly want to be His follower. It’s one thing to say, ''I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST,'' but to not put it into practice in our lives is like listening but closing down our senses, picking and choosing what sounds nice, and ignoring the challenge. Remember, Jesus died on the cross because He had the courage to totally trust in God. Abraham was put to the test and he too trusted in God.
''WOULD YOU DO THE SAME?"
Welcome to any visitors here this weekend. To those of other faith traditions, God blesses you.
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