Dear Faith Family,
I really love our Church. Not just our wonderful church community at Padre Serra, but the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church. The rich history, the emphasis on philosophy and the promotion of a relationship with Jesus Christ through the Sacraments are so compelling to me and I’m so grateful every day that our Lord established this Church.
Within the rich history of our Church, we have had great minds invest their very being to the development of doctrine. Church councils have been formed throughout her history to simply pursue the truth so we can grow closer to God through it. These councils involved a lot of scrutiny and discussion and these have been happening all throughout our 2,000ish year history. I find it very comforting knowing that there have been greater minds than mine to pursue our dogmas and doctrines. I’m very glad that these truths don’t rely on my own personal research.
With that said, there are plenty of things that the Church teaches that I struggle with. Again, this is where the beauty of the Church’s pursuit of truth really helps me. Even though I may not understand something that the Church teaches (and maybe even struggle with it), there is something very humbling knowing that there have been so many brilliant minds who are not pursuing an agenda (like certain politicians), but rather, there are brilliant minds who just want to reveal who Jesus Christ is to the world.
This Sunday’s gospel really speaks to me because of my struggles to understand. Are we called to be like the Apostles, who know that Jesus “has the words of eternal life”? Or are we called to be the ones who see the Church and her teachings as something hard, and not worth pursuing?
Let me clarify, struggle is fine. In fact, if you read stories of the saints, I would say that struggle is a requisite of eternal life. It is through struggle that we understand our humanity, but we can also relate to Jesus. It is especially ok to struggle with things that may be happening or taught in the Church, as long as it compels an honest pursuit of the truth and Jesus Christ.
I’m praying for all of you and I appreciate that you are doing the same for me and Youth/Young Adult ministry. If you have any questions of struggle, I just want to let you all know that I am available to talk about things. I may not have all the answers, but at the very least, we can pursue the truth and Jesus together.
Youth and Young Adult Minister
Grades 3 - 8
Wednesday, August 15
- Find mass where ever you go! Go to www.masstimes.org
- Summer Selfies! Take a parish bulletin on your day trips and vacations! Pose with it in a selfie and send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s see where we take our church!
- Bring back bulletins from your trip to share with Fr. Patrick!
- Stay up-to-date on giving! Use Online Giving to schedule onetime or recurring donations.
Today’s readings remind us of the power and promise of the Eucharist. That in seeking reconciliation and celebrating the Eucharist, we are receiving confirmation and strength for our personal journeys. We are asked to believe without seeing and that our belief will lead us to everlasting life.
I am not a theologian. I am a scientist/businesswoman who spent the majority of my career developing therapies for life-threatening diseases. I have tried to be on the straight and narrow path with God, but have strayed more times than I’d care to admit. Yet, He has always welcomed me back home.
Being a data driven person, I’ve often wondered about believing in God without seeing Him. I’ve learned that if we slow down, look and listen, that we will find God all around us and working through us:
- We are offered unconditional love and forgiveness not only from God, but from our families and friends. Sometimes we just have to allow ourselves to be forgiven
- We are offered hope. Hope to begin anew, to heal, to make it through tough times. Hope that our dearly departed loved ones are in God’s loving embrace
- God has blessed each of us with specific gifts that He wants us to share in order to take care of ourselves and others to the best of our abilities
- People truly love and show immeasurable compassion – The selflessness & tirelessness of caregivers; donations of time and money to assist those in need; blood & organ donors; a small act of kindness to brighten someone’s day, which could be a turning point in their life…
- The sound of God’s love is all around us – a wedding vow “I do” – a newborn baby’s cry – a child’s belly laugh – the words: “I’m sorry,” “I forgive you,” “I love you,” “Please can you help me?” “I’m here for you.” – My terminally ill father witnessing something beyond my earthly capabilities and smiling to me saying, “Don’t worry Baby, I’m going to be okay…”
Celebrating the Eucharist is quite emotional for me as I think about God’s love and blessings. I also think about my shortcomings, continually pray for forgiveness and strength to be the best person I can possibly be. I feel the divine surge of the Holy Spirit through the Eucharist each week.
There is no doubt about what God is asking of us in the second reading (Eph 4:30–5:2): “All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us.”
God is inviting us to join him on a most wonderful journey. He wants us to learn from Him, live like Him, forgive like Him and love like Him. I hope to learn from those of you further down this spiritual path with God and welcome others who are thinking about putting your
feet on the trail. There’s room for us all.
Parish Business Manager
Rehearsals Thursday evenings
Auditions are held for voice placement and/or solo opportunities. For an audition, please contact:
Liturgy & Music Minister
The people in today’s Gospel, though, almost certainly lived with hunger as a normal and recurring condition. Archeological evidence, from studies of graves from most of the ancient world, reveals that a majority of peasants, who made up the bulk of the world’s population until relatively recently, lived with hunger and protein deficiency.
Without modern technology and machinery, lacking metal plows and unable to afford beasts of burden, most subsistence farmers produced only enough, when all went well, to feed their families in a hand-to-mouth kind of way. They ate what the earth brought forth soon after it ripened. They then lived with hunger until the next crop came to maturity. Droughts and taxes often stressed the poor farming family to the breaking point.
When we hear of the dogged perseverance of the crowds around Jesus in today’s Gospel, as they sought to encourage him to repeat the wonderful multiplication of the loaves, where everyone had their fill, and there was still food left over, we have to look upon them sympathetically. It also leads us to recognize the point of this passage for us. We’re not desperate about food. Our physical hunger isn’t going to get in the way of our ability to hear what God has to say…but…we have our own blind spots, places where our gaping needs, hurts and anguish overshadows our willingness to attend to what the Lord would be with us and do for us.
There is an implicit invitation for each of us to bring the places of our greatest struggles into dialogue with our communion with our Lord Jesus.
Where can we find companionship in our loneliness? Communion. Where can we find strength to overcome the difficult? Communion. Where can we find comfort in our physical pain? Communion. Where will we find life when we feel like we’re dying inside? Communion.
In receiving the Bread of Life we’re not having God “do it for us,” we’re committing to do all that we do, be all we can be, with Jesus. It takes a conscious act when we receive to make this possible. It requires us to return to our spiritual and physical union with Jesus in the moment of our struggle. We need to remember that we are not alone and that Jesus is working in, with and through us, for our greater good and the building up of the Kingdom
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St. John’s Seminary