Friends on the journey,
There’s nothing more persistent than an inquisitive toddler. Commonly heard in my house was “Mom, mom, mommy, mom” and questions like “What’s this? What’s that? Why? How?” Of course, this continued through childhood and the teenage years just with different circumstances. As nerve wracking as it sometimes was, those conversations were times of learning, sharing and growing. Now as a mother of young adults, I often miss those younger inquisitions but cherish the more complicated adult discussions today.
Today’s gospel is about persistency. The Canaanite women is a Gentile, a non-believer, and so desperate to help her tormented daughter that she’s willing to beg over and over again for this Jewish man’s help. The disciples tried to send her away and Jesus was hesitant at first. Her won’t-take-no-for-an-answer approach finally wins and Jesus honors her persistency by curing her daughter.
God’s like that with us, wanting us to be as persistent in our faith just like that inquisitive child and Canaanite woman. Our loving Lord wants nothing more than for us to have faith and trust in his unwavering care. God never tires of our prayers and wants to hear from us regularly, consistently, for mundane requests, life changing petitions for ourselves and others, gratitude, praise, and just every day conversation.
Our faith always invokes a God response and our prayers are never unanswered, though we don’t always get what we want. How often have we asked God for something, didn’t get our way and then gave up, thinking God is punishing us or doesn’t care? That’s where persistent faith comes in. Faith is what guides us to search for God’s message in any situation, difficult or otherwise. Faith is what helps makes sense of the unexplainable in our lives and in the world. Faith is what allows us to the see light in the darkness. Faith is what inspires us to find something or someone for which to be grateful. Faith is what helps us to see God at work in our daily lives through creation, people and events. Persistent faith is trusting and surrendering our will to God’s. Easier said than done, I know. But our faith journey is a lifelong marathon, not a sprint, ever changing, always evolving and only abundant with persistence.
May we always be like that inquisitive toddler, daily saying “God, God, Lord, Jesus. Where are you? Help me see you today. Thank you. I know that was you.”
Faith Life Minister
Dear Parish Family,
We recently returned home from the eastern Sierras. Everything was so fresh and beautiful. It is so easy to experience the presence of our good God in the blue skies, clear lakes, green trees, and in the many waterfalls and wild flowers. Nature is doing her thing up there. We relaxed and took in the quiet.
Today’s first reading from the first book of Kings reminds us of hearing God in the quiet. Not the only way. Elijah heard God calling him outside the cave as the Lord would be passing by. The Lord was not in the loud violent things like earthquakes, fire and strong wind. Elijah did hear the Lord in the soft whispering sound.
As summer winds down and the busyness of back to school and work, consider taking a small last vacation. Let’s find that quiet place to listen to the Lord in the whispers. Finding God in the small, much like loving in the detail.
Deacon Ike and Shari Edie
I recently had the opportunity to go to the Yosemite and Sierra Nevada mountain area. Wow, what beauty! I stood there admiring the perfection in mountains and trees, the lakes and rivers, so peaceful. I could not help but think this is a little glimpse of heaven. My eyes could see God’s glory in his beautiful creation. I too like Peter was in such awe … saying, “Lord, it is good that we are here.” I did not want to leave.
I think of the apostles Peter, James and John who were accompanying Jesus to the mountaintop to pray. There they were witnesses to Jesus’ Transfiguration. Imagine their good friend, whom they knew well, covered in radiant light, exposing his divinity, True Man and True God! There he spoke with Moses, the keeper of the law and Elijah, the great prophet. And as if more proof was needed they heard the voice of God say, “This is my beloved son, listen to him.” Though they did not fully understand what they were experiencing, this moment prepared and sustained them for the future trials.
I think of our daily lives, so busy, family, work, responsibilities and worries. Some days our burdens are so heavy, we seek respite. Coming to Mass, is our weekly mountaintop experience. It is our source and summit. We have to walk up to the hilltop to the church. We are encountered by Jesus made flesh in the loving and embracing community and worship together. Our soul is fed in the Word and in the Body and Blood of Christ. We are transformed through Jesus, and like Peter will say, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” With a renewed strength and spirit, we are ready to be sent out, to “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”
Faith Formation Minister
August 6, 2017
Dear Faith Family,
I hope that you are all having a wonderful summer!
I hold this Sunday’s reading at such a high regard in my life.
There are a lot of passages in scripture that mention fish. (We have been called to be fishers of men, Jesus multiplies fish, etc.) It’s obvious that the symbol of fish is quite a common one in scripture. But this Sunday’s Gospel especially impacts me.
The language of separating the good and the bad fish is something to ponder, for sure. Sure, it can be quite dreary to think of those “fish” that are thrown away and it’s no secret that we believe that there is a heaven and a hell. Every Catholic understands this notion and it is quite important. But when I read this passage, it also helps me to understand what God is calling us to do.
As we know, our parish mission is “Encounter Jesus, Be Disciples,” and as I’ve said before, the most important part of being a disciple is to share your encounter with Jesus with others to bring them to their own personal encounter. Sometimes though, I feel that we are afraid of being disciples to the “bad fish” of the sea.
To be disciples, we must be ready to encounter those that we may be afraid to encounter. To be the best disciples that Christ calls us to be, we must make sure that we are not only inviting those we are comfortable with, but we must make sure that we are investing time to invite anyone we encounter, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
Let it be known that our spiritual life should not be driven by fear, but rather, beauty. At the end of this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus asks his disciples if they understand what he has just spoken about, and they said yes. Jesus didn’t simply say “good job!” or, “I’m glad to hear that you understand,” but rather, because they understood, he explained to them that they are commissioned to bring the new and the old to share the glory of paradise. This is our commission; this is our accepted role of discipleship.
Youth and Young Adult Minister
July 30, 2017
My Dear Parish Family,
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that the kingdom is like the good seed and the bad seed. This reminds me of my Catholic high school religion class when we learned about the ancient Chinese concept of yin and yang. Black and white. Sun and shade. The idea I remember is that without darkness, we cannot know light. Without sadness, we cannot know joy. Without bad, we cannot know good. These seeming opposites are actually complimentary and necessary. Two halves that together complete wholeness.
Interestingly, newborns literally see only black and white. Toddlers learn basic concepts in opposites, up and down, in and out. Young children study patterns to learn basic math concepts. Square, circle, square, circle, square …. Children see moral issues clearly as black or white until about midtolate middle school when they begin to see that life presents gray areas.
If all we had was wheat, we would stop noticing it. It is precisely because of the weeds that we can distinguish the wheat and therefore appreciate it, treasure it, care for it. Our impulse to discard the bad is natural. Jesus said to let them grow together. Presumably, to see one, find favor with one, reject one, choose one, discard one.
With yin and yang, as one part decreases, the other part increases to maintain the overall balance of the whole. I think of the wheat and the weeds in my own life. What can I do to increase the wheat and reduce the weeds? It definitely takes work and intent and patience then more work like a real garden. I wonder if Jesus gave us another yin and yang in Reconciliation and Holy Communion. One removes the bad, kills the weeds and one feeds, nourishes and strengthens us for life in the garden.
God is merciful because we need mercy. God is love because we are lovable. So let’s love.
It is all about Jesus’ great love for us. How do we live that love? How do we show that love to all we meet?
The kingdom is like … sharing an ice cream with a grandchild, lingering in conversation at the dinner table, road trips, giggles, smiles shared, picnics, helping and being needed, cool water and warm sand, freshcut flowers, comfy cushions, sending and receiving caring messages, movies and music, a crackling fire on a chilly evening, candlelight … being connected with the people that God has put in our lives and being connected with God. With hearts on fire for God and Jesus by our side, every day is heavenly.
Parish Life Minister
July 23, 2017
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
Today Jesus offers these words of comfort and understanding of whatever causes us pain, struggle, fear, suffering, and unrest. Jesus is most assuredly the place we can find peace, consolation and God’s compassionate love. In addition to the spiritual connection, often times we need the human interaction as well. We want Jesus with skin. Here at Padre Serra our support and care ministries are Jesus with skin. It is my great honor to sing in praise and gratitude of these quiet heroes.
If you know someone who may need one of our ministries, please share our informative brochure with them. They’re available in the church lobby, office and website. If you see a need that is not currently being addressed, please, come talk with me. Many of these ministries began because one person had a need, saw that others did too and wanted to make a difference, to be Jesus with skin. God is good!
Faith Life Minister
July 9, 2017
Together in Mission is a campaign unique to the Los Angeles Archdiocese to support schools and parishes who cannot otherwise financially survive. This campaign for the past quarter of a century has kept schools and parish doors open in our diocese while other diocese in the United States have closed down parishes and schools at an alarming rate.
The Los Angeles Archdiocese’s Together in Mission Campaign supports 80 parishes and 63 schools currently. Many of us know and appreciate the value of a Catholic education and thanks to Together in Mission 12,200 students are enrolled in our schools solely because of Together in Mission.
Next weekend, we will be honored with a guest speaker, not from a far distance, but from within our own parish who can speak firsthand of the benefits of Together in Mission. At all masses we will hear from Melissa Weyek Ronan. Melissa was raised most of her life in Camarillo. She and her husband, Mike, moved their family back to Camarillo this past summer along with their sons, Aidan and Patrick. Her parents and her brother and family also reside in Camarillo. Mike is well known to many of us because he serves as the principal of St. Mary Magdalen School here in Camarillo. The Ronans are parishioners of Padre Serra Parish.
Melissa will share with us next weekend her firsthand knowledge of Together in Mission having worked for ten years as a principal at Mother of Sorrows School and St. Vincent School in Los Angeles. These parishes are both beneficiaries of Together in Mission. Melissa directly witnessed every day the impact of Together in Mission support. She will share with us firsthand her assessment of what these schools would be like if it were not for the Together in Mission support their parish receives.
Melissa is a passionate supporter of Catholic education and making sure all students are able to experience academic success while also growing in their faith.
You may know, the Archdiocese assigns a goal to each parish for its share of support to Together in Mission. Padre Serra’s goal for 2017 is $107,600. As of now we have paid 67.8% of the amount requested of us. This means to meet our goal as we have every year, we need to raise another $34,667.44. So far in 2017, 370 families have contributed.
This number is down from the prior two years when we had over 500 families participating each year. We are hoping that every household in our parish will give to this beautiful cause, helping people right here in our own archdiocese.
Next weekend will provide each of us a wonderful opportunity to hear more about Together in Mission from a fellow parishioner who can truthfully attest to the wonderful life changing benefits the fund provides to the designated parishes and schools.
Please help extend a warm welcome next weekend to Melissa Ronan and seriously
consider joining in with Together in Mission in 2017.
Wishing you all a blessed summer.
UPDATES & NEWS