Follow Christ and Experience Fulfillment

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 14, 2018

Dear Parishioners,

We can learn so much from this rich young man!  Little did he know that his 2-minute encounter with the Lord would impact millions of people for millennia.  For instance, many other "rich young men" would likewise run up to the Lord and ask the same question.  St. Anthony, St. Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Charles de Foucald, among others, would not make the same mistake this man from the Gospel did.  These saints would be able to give up everything.  They would not walk away sad, but, on the contrary, would follow Christ and experience fulfillment.

Yes, a path of discipleship entails sacrifices.  If we are to be committed Catholics, intentional in our faith and not lukewarm, there are many deaths, some little, that we will undergo.  We should always keep the rich young man in mind.  He was afraid to give up his wealth.  He could not make that sacrifice.  He thought holding onto the money was a wiser decision.  Was it?  No!   He went away sad. 

Those things we think we "need" in our life—those things we cannot live without—often don't bring us true happiness.  If we keep them, and instead let Christ go, we will be sad, like the rich young man.  That's the pitfall we all have to avoid.  That's the temptation to shun.  Possessions and attachments do not give us the safety or happiness we think they do.  Only Christ does.

Jesus calls us to poverty. "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God" (Mk 10:25).

Spiritual poverty, that is.  (Though, some may indeed be called to material poverty, like the saints I mentioned above.)  Why poverty? Wealth can bring the false notion that we are powerful and have no need of others.  To have no need of others...well, that sounds a bit like hell to me.  Jesus wants us to be totally dependent upon him.  That is heaven.

Notice the rich young man asks, 'what must I do to inherit eternal life?'.  Normally, one does not need to "do" anything to receive the inheritance.  One simply needs to be; to be in the proper relationship to the testator.  We don't earn inheritances. 

That's again where poverty and simplicity come into play.  We don't need to be rich.  We don't need to do much.  If we abandon ourselves to the Lord and trust completely in him who can do all things ('with God all things are possible'), then we will gain the fullness of life.

RCIA begins today, Sunday, October 14th at 9:45am.  We already have several people signed up to enter the Catholic faith.  If you know of anyone who would like to become Catholic or receive a sacrament, such as Confirmation, please reach out to Fr. Emanuel.  It is not too late to sign up!

Teen Ministry takes place again this Sunday at the 5pm Mass, followed by spiritual conversation in the gym.  Parents, please encourage your teens to attend.  I'm grateful to Eileen Fealy, Hank Lyon, and Kevin Gregus for their work leading our teen ministry. 

Last week was our inaugural First Responder's Support Group and we have another gathering this Wednesday at 6:45pm in the parish center.  Please come for some fellowship and emotional and spiritual support.

I will celebrate a few special Masses this week: the CCD opening year Mass on Wednesday at 7pm and the Grandparents Mass on Friday at 10:30am.  There will be 11:30am dismissals for school this Thursday and Friday because of Parent-Teacher Conferences.  And good luck girls basketball in their home games this Tuesday, as well as boys football next Saturday at Brooks Park.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. James

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