In my previous article on Treasure, I dealt with tithing as a Biblical requirement we are called to practice as true Catholics. I pointed out that this is rarely emphasized in our Church as it is done in the Protestant Churches. I also said something about helping the poor through offering a portion of our resources.
In Scripture, the poor are of a particular interest to our Lord Jesus Christ. He drew close to them, fed them, taught them, consoled them, and healed them. He calls us, his disciples, to do the same. Here at St. Andrew, I am blessed to have a parish community that responds so generously when called to meet particular needs of the poor among us. For instance, we have our vibrant Caring Ministry which meets the various needs of the poor in our surrounding. We have our Global Outreach Ministry which helps poor children globally through the Grow Haiti's Children in Haiti and E3 Africa in Uganda. We have regularly done this through fundraisers held here in our parish and educational sponsorships through some of our families. For all of these, I am indeed, very grateful. My goal is eventually to be able to assist these needs not through second collections but through our regular plate collections that we receive and then taking these needs into account. This means increasing our plate contributions over and above what we are currently doing, if it does not meet the tithing requirements. In this way, 10% of our plate income will go to support the poor both in our surrounding and around the world without having to take so many second collections every month. As good stewards, we can do this- and we will!READ MORE
Adults/Teens: In the Gospel this week, we meet Jesus as He sends a couple of His Apostles to scout the reception of Him into the villages. James and John go out ahead and are not received well. Their initial reaction is to curse those who will not receive Christ, but Jesus has different plans. When the others in the passage come up to Christ, He does not sugarcoat the trails they will face. Jesus wants it to be clear that to follow Him will require a denial of self and a changed heart. There is no way to force the message of Christ on others, a conversion to a relationship must happen. Often times, when we are faced with those who will not accept Christ for whatever reason, or when something happens that we do not deem as fair, one initial reaction is to curse them and demand God's judgment. But Christ teaches us an important lesson: to follow Him daily, it will require doing the right thing by Him – always.
Children: Spend some time this week with your family discussing how we can prepare our hearts to receive the love and mercy of God every day. Even when it is hard, Jesus desires to be with us and it will require a choice to allow Him to love us fully.
Take a moment to reflect on Jesus and His presence in your life.
Pray together, aloud, the Our Father.
In my last articles, I concentrated on the Stewardship of Treasure. In this last one particularly, I wrote about the biblical requirement of tithing. I will continue some more reflection on treasure in my next article, but in this article I have taken the liberty to digress a little and talk about the Stewardship of Time. This is triggered by some observation I saw online, which I think also applies to my own observation of how people come so late for Mass and leave early. Lately, this seems to be getting even worse! I have pointed out some of these weaknesses before, but I think other peoples reflections can augment these efforts to evangelize us in appreciating the gift of time God has given us to worship Him. Below is what this anonymous author observed about lateness to Church with slight modifications from me. He says:READ MORE
Adults/Teens: This week, we celebrate the Eucharist. In the Gospel, Jesus performs a miracle and multiplies the food available in order to feed a multitude of people. In a similar way, the bread of life is multiplied through all of time so that we might experience eternal life through the Body and Blood of Christ. We, as Catholics, participate in the Mass at least once a week and partake in the Heavenly Banquet as we receive Communion. Those who experienced this miracle that Jesus per formed had trouble believing their eyes. They had to accept that all those present could be fed and satisfied by a seemingly insufficient amount of food. The Eucharist is our spiritual food, it is the nourishment that sustains us for all time and the door which we may enter through to experience Christ fully present; Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity! May we never lose the awe of the opportunity we have been given and always praise and glorify God for this incredible gift!READ MORE
Adults/Teens: Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. In our faith, we believe that God exists in three distinct persons. How can it be that one God can exist in three persons? Much debate and study have been done in response to that question. The truth we know is that God exists in the Father and the Father loves the Son completely and totally, the Son in turn loves the Father and out of the perfect self-giving love of the Son and the Father, the Spirit comes forth. The persons of the Trinity have specific actions and roles that they play, all of which come together in one Triune God. Scripture makes it clear to us that the Father and the Son are one, there is no hierarchy in the Trinity. Jesus tells us that God will take from what is His and declare it to us through the Holy Spirit. In other words, the truth we all seek, the guidance we all need, the love we all desire is freely given to us from God through the Holy Spirit. Jesus is alive and with us through the Spirit today, in our world. The Father's love for us is flowing through Christ 's Church and active in the world through us as His witnesses and disciples. What a beautiful role we play in the story of Salvation! We, along with the Trinity, have a role and a mission to share the Gospel with the whole world in order that everyone might experience eternal life.READ MORE
In our article last week, we spent time- like with a number of our previous letters- developing our understanding that God has given us all that we have as gifts. He gave you your life, your breath, your intelligence, and He gave you everything that enables you to have your job and keep it. He gave you your health. Yes, God has given you the greatest country in the world with the largest economy - America…. God bless America! Indeed, God has blessed America. Now as an American citizen myself, born and raised in a third world country, I truly believe this, that we are indeed blessed most abundantly. I believe too that if we get rid of our greed and false "self-sufficiency" and look with humility and gratitude at all that God has given us as a country and as individuals, we will realize how incredibly blessed we are, and we will be generous. We will still realize how God keeps on blessing us.
In my previous articles, we looked at the spirituality of stewardship beginning with a look at the four core values which include: Identity, Trust, Gratitude, and Love. I also pointed out that the spirituality of Stewardship deals essentially with how we use our Time, Talent, and Treasure. I insisted that in order to be good stewards in our use of these gifts, we must have good and personal relationship with our God, which is what we are trying to build by making Stewardship a Way of Life here in our Parish. I used the analogy of the relationship between a husband and wife. I pointed out that if a good relationship exists between a couple, they would not calculate how much time they would like to spend with each other, or how much of their skills and talents and intelligence they can share between their work and each other, nor how much percentage of their money they would calculate to buy gifts for their spouses. I argued that this would not be an issue at all.READ MORE
Adults/Teens: Today, we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost! This is the memorial of the day that Jesus sent down the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles so that they might go out and fulfill His mission in the world. At St. Andrew, our Mission Statement is: "We are a Roman Catholic community committed to the formation of disciples, who use their gifts to fulfill His mission." The call at Pentecost is exactly that which we strive to answer here at St. Andrew. We are all sent out on a mission of evangelism. We are all sent out to answer the call of Christ and we need the support of a strong Catholic community to accomplish this goal. May God continue to bless St. Andrew the Apostle and may we all, as the Body of Christ, continue striving to live out our mission of evangelizing the world!!READ MORE
Adults/Teens: Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension. Jesus tells His Apostles that He will send "the promise of my Father." Here, like in the previous weeks we have read, Jesus is speaking about the coming of the Holy Spirit. After Jesus blesses the Apostles and tells them to remain in Jerusalem, He is then taken up into Heaven. The Ascension of Jesus is important because He again fulfills the necessary stipulations of the Savior. Jesus must leave us in order for the Advocate to continue His teachings and allow for the passing down of the Gospel through the ages. Finally, in the Gospel this week, we see the Apostles rejoicing that Jesus has been taken up into Heaven.READ MORE
In the last couple of articles, I ran parts of my State of the Parish Address detailing our achievements and challenges as we pursued our four strategic goals. It was very clear to me that we achieved a lot because we worked together as a community of faith. The concept of community means a lot to me because it has taught me precious values I can always relate with and it influences my leadership as your pastor and here is why:
Growing up, I have always been made to understand myself as a child of my community. My life was shaped by the rural village environment where darkness brought out night runners, countless stars and a variety of wildlife. Where every child was a child of the community regardless of whether that child was from a rich or poor family, was a biological child or child of a neighbor.READ MORE