Answer Jesus' call in your own life

10-21-2012Weekly ReflectionMr. G. Stricklin

Dear Parish Family,

As I look out the window today at the rich fall foliage - orange and crimson and brilliant yellow - can't help but notice that many of the leaves have already started to fall. Of course this reminds me of the colder days ahead, the inevitable dormancy which is a necessary part of the cycle of seasons. But that time is not here yet! We still have a few more weeks of this glorious milder weather which seems to invigorate us for our fall projects - planting and seeding, repair jobs on the house, schoolwork, a new exercise program, bike rides outside! The fall is a time that seems to inspire us to grow and get better and accomplish things.

As human beings God made us to grow, and improve and accomplish things. In fact He made each one of us to be truly great, to become fully ourselves. A couple of years ago, Fr. Tim gave a homily on today's Gospel reading from Saint Mark which reminds us of this. He pointed out that our knee jerk reaction to James and John, who boldly asked Jesus for exalted places on his left and his right, may be to think of them as arrogant or self‐centered, seeking their own advancement. But Fr. Tim reminded us that their desire to be great and to be close to Jesus, at his right and left, were desires that in fact God had given them, and he gives to all of us. No one seeks to be mediocre, or at least we shouldn't. We are all destined for greatness! The trick is to under‐ stand that true greatness is found not in worldly power or position, but in being united to Christ, who laid down his life for oth‐ ers.

As Pastoral Administrator I have the privilege and pleasure to be a part of the team which is in communication with Fr. Tim while he is away. Along with Fr. Jack, Fr. Joseph, and Regina Edersheim, I have been able to speak with Fr. Tim via SKYPE and to exchange emails with him as well. As you know he is currently in his own intensive process of studying and learning and growing to become all that God has called him to be. He is working very hard but is absolutely thriving! Each time we have spoken he always asks us to tell you how much he misses all of you, and that he prayers for you each day!

And as Fr. Tim is trying to answer Jesus' call in his own life, he asks that we as individuals and as a parish do the same. Last week, Oct 11 began the Year of Faith. It was the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The Council sought to open the Church to the world and the world to the Church, not so that the Church would be consumed by the world and become like it, but so that the Church could transform the world with the love and truth of Jesus Christ. In calling the Church to a Year of Faith, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI is calling us each to be great! He is calling us to be great for the Kingdom of God and to be a force in changing the world for good. Specifically, Pope Benedict has asked each person to make public acts of our Catholic belief. This will always require putting ourselves on the line for goodness and for truth, essentially, putting our‐ selves on the line for Christ himself.

Over the past couple of weeks with the presidential debates, we have seen the political discussion intensify. Our nation is facing a pivotal point in her history. And this is an opportunity for each of us to take stock of where we are with our Catholic faith and what we are willing to do to stand for Christ. Among the many issues of this election, there are a few which are core: life, liberty, marriage. The Church is clear on what she teaches‐ marriage is a sacred union of man and woman, created by God and affirmed and made holy by Jesus Christ. Our right to life and freedom of religion are also given to us by God and it is the responsibility of government to protect these natural rights, not to attack them and redefine them. Have we taken the time to truly understand the Church's teachings and to own them for ourselves, to teach them to our children, and to stand for them in our families, in our work places, and in our community and civic life? In these last few weeks before the election, all Catholics are called to prayerfully consider the values our Church has taught for two thousand years, values which have undergirded the just and free society that we enjoy today, and to allow Christ to inspire each one of us to heroic acts of faith, so that his love and truth can be known in our nation.

The most important thing that we can all do in this momentous time in our nation's history is to humbly pray to God for our own clarity, our own purity of heart, and for our nation. On Monday night, November 5, the eve of the presidential election, all are invited to gather in our Church from 7:30 to 8:30pm to pray the Rosary for the good of our country. Please plan to join us in this act of faith in Christ that he will bring about his good purposes in each one of us and in our country.

Your brother in Christ, Geoff