What we hear from the prophet Isaiah in today’s first reading seems especially pertinent as we enter the eighteenth month of very strange times for our world, our nation, and our church (both local and global). The pandemic and the polarizing effect it has had, worries about environment and climate, economic uncertainty and inequality, racial justice concerns, natural disasters, instability in places like Afghanistan, increasing stridency in politics, and even divisiveness in our church – all of these have, for many, induced a weariness and debilitating fear, and understandably so.
During Isaiah’s time Israel was in dire straits too. They were attacked by the Assyrians in the north, and even Jerusalem was surrounded by Sennacherib’s army. What Isaiah wrote in chapter 35 (the beginning of today’s reading) was this:
Thus says the LORD:
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
with divine recompense
he comes to save you.
What we know that those of Isaiah’s time did not is that Jesus is the fulfillment of that promise. Most of those with Jesus when he walked the earth also did not recognize him as Messiah, as Savior. Happy are we who do! But from what is Jesus delivering us? Is it just assurance of escaping punishment for our sins? Of seeing our departed loved ones in the afterlife? Or is it the gospel of prosperity – if we just have enough faith then Jesus will deliver us from poverty and illness? I think it’s more than that. I think it’s the gift of knowing that Jesus – human like us in everything (including temptations) but sinless – walks with us, embraces us in all our frailties, and promises to be with us always.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.
We hear of Jesus in the Gospels doing all of these things that Isaiah foretold. In today’s gospel he heals a man suffering deafness and muteness. In Advent, we refer to Jesus as Emmanuel which means “God with us”. It is Jesus, today, by our embrace of the mission he gives us at baptism to go out and preach the gospel to all, who fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy.
1936 - 2021
Wednesday, Sept 8, 2021
Padre Serra Parish
The rapid rise of the delta variant here in the County of Ventura has led the Ventura County Public Health to issue a mask mandate, beginning yesterday, Friday, August 20, for most indoor public settings. It grants a delay for businesses until Monday but does not mention churches.
Because it is now a mandate, I would ask, beginning this weekend at both the 7:30 am and 11:00 am Masses, that all attending wear masks. Anyone who cannot wear a mask is asked to attend the 5:00 pm Saturday evening, or the 9:00 am Sunday morning Mass on the Grass. We are blessed to have these options, as well as the wonderful volunteers who make this possible.
I thank you for your patience, and your willingness to abide by Christian charity in this difficult time.
As I meditated over our readings this Sunday I noticed a common theme throughout. We are given the opportunity to make a choice. In the first reading Joshua asks the tribes of Israel, whom they will serve. The choice was before the people to serve the gods of their fathers or would they serve the Lord who had taken them out of slavery in Egypt, protected on the journey and blessed them in a new land. The Israelites recognized all that God had done for them, a covenant of love. They saw the miracles with their own eyes! They chose to follow Our Lord, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
In the second reading St. Paul reminds us of the relationship of a husband and wife. To be subordinate, love and serve one another. Just like Christ loves the church. We are reminded of the choice a man and woman make to leave their parents to begin a new family, become one with their spouse. once again a covenant of love. Those of us that are married are well aware that marriage requires love, submission/compromise. The choices made for our family are always with the desire of the greater good for all its members. Christ himself is the perfect example of this love for his church.
Lastly in the Gospel, Jesus reveals he is food for our souls. His words are spirit and life. Many of his followers can not understand or accept the concept that we are to eat his flesh. This is too much for many, and they chose to abandon him. Peter on the other hand has an epiphany, He recognizes Jesus as God. “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
Throughout our readings we are reminded that we have the free will to make a choice. God’s love and blessing on his people is given freely. We are then given the choice to follow him and choose salvation or to walk away. This reminds me of something of a wise mother of a priest (Fr. Tony Ricard) often said to her own children, before they left the house. “Remember who you are and whose you are.” As we go out into the world, do people know we are Christian and we belong to God? “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Faith Formation Minister
1935 - 2021
Friday, October 1, 2021
Padre Serra Parish
Saturday, September 18
Every Sunday morning, rain or shine, we serve coffee, donuts and fresh fruit after each Mass.
Ministers of coffee and donuts are always needed. This is a great opportunity for adults, teens and children to share in friendship, fellowship, and conversation. Working side-by-side pouring joe and serving dough!
Pick your Sundays and Masses to enjoy a Sunday morning in the courtyard with fellow parishioners.
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Also visit: Weekend Experience
A New Beginning
1962 - 2021
Friday, September 10, 2021
Padre Serra Parish
Please visit our COVID-19 web page for the latest updates.
Photography by Jeff Edelstein
A ministry for those healing from divorce
Grace Martinez, Cynthia Jones Campbell, Jett Clyne.
Photo by Julius Acero
Saturday, September 18
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