These two weekends have been something of an historical moment in the life of our parish. Our long-awaited First Holy Communion days have become a reality for our children who have waited for it for five months longer than usual. I hope that they will treasure this moment in their life not so much because it came at a uniquely historical moment in our world brought on by  the Covid-19 virus, but because they now had a little extra time to prepare themselves more thoroughly to receive this great Sacrament of God’s love.
I do hope that they will realize that this is one of many sacred opportunities to prepare them for the day when they will meet Jesus and, hopefully, be invited by Him to enter into Paradise. But this can only happen if the guidance they receive in life through the good example of their parents continues throughout their maturing process. Please pray that these little ones stay close to Jesus.
This Sunday is Priesthood Sunday, and we especially honor our priests who serve us in our parish and our diocese. They, like the First Communicants, have found the “love of their life” in Jesus because they were raised in a home atmosphere of faith, love, virtue, devotion and good example. They are able to understand better the meaning of sacrificial service and are willing to offer themselves to God for the sake of His Kingdom. So, as we honor those priests who truly are witnesses of  fidelity and obedience, let us pray for a constant strengthening of their vocation. In our parish, we honor and pray for Father Danis Ridore, Father Jay Haskin (returning October 8th), Father Charles Perricone, as well as Seminary professors Monsignor Steven Bosso and Father Stephen Olds (returning to us when they’ve received the “all-clear” signal from their seminary rector, who also holds the entire seminary student body in self-imposed containment for the time being). Please remember to pray for me, too, that I may be a faithful and worthy minister of the divine mysteries of Jesus.
The Catholic faith formation of any human being, whether it’s an infant at Baptism, a child receiving First Communion, a man being ordained a priest, a couple marrying before God’s witness in church, or a servant dedicating their life as a consecrated religious, is best carried out in an atmosphere marked by love, fidelity and obedience. It can only grow when nurtured.
Saint Paul says that the obedience of Jesus was not simply a submission to the will of the Father; rather, Our Lord perfectly united Himself to his Father’s plans for our salvation. In doing so, Jesus gives us, His disciples, an example of what perfect obedience is: to make an active choice to follow the will of God in our lives. Like that of Jesus, our obedience to the will of God in our lives begins with freedom, the freedom to choose to follow the path that will lead to even greater freedom and ultimately our heavenly reward, or to follow the path that focuses on ourselves and the goods that the world gives, which will lead to a restriction of our relationship with God and, if not corrected, to our loss, ultimately, of eternal life in Heaven. In this regard, following the will of God for our lives gives us direction in roughly the same way that markings on the road give direction to travelers. When driving, we don’t feel restricted by the markings on the highway; on the contrary, they give us the freedom to focus on other things. So too, our obedience to the will of God in our lives gives us the freedom not to spend all of our time focusing on what is next or what we should do; rather, it frees us up to focus on living authentic lives that are committed to being Christ’s disciples and good stewards of the many gifts that we have been given.