My Dear Parish Family,
In the Gospel today, John cried out in the desert, “Make straight the way of the Lord.” John is pointing to Jesus and encouraging us to abandon our crooked ways, our self-centered paths. John points to Jesus in his statement, and then recedes into the background. His actions say, “It’s not about me, it is about him.” I wonder what percent of our actions say it is not about me. How do we point to Jesus? Daily. Do we recede into the background?
It is easy to see examples of when folks are behaving selfishly, in general we seem to be less trained or focused on when people get things right. I want to stay positive ... I love that we have 466 parking spots at church and six of them are dedicated to visitors. When I see them full, I rejoice! What a dishonor it would be if able-bodied parishioners used those spaces. We are all grateful to the wonderful hospitality ministers that brew fresh coffee, 275 pots a year, 5 every Sunday plus Christmas and Easter. What a dishonor it would be to grumble about one pot that is a little delayed. Take it from St. John, it is not about me, it is about our Lord Jesus. How can we point to him? Offer others good parking and hot coffee.
I have been talking with middle school children about growing up and growing into a deeper, more lived out sense of Christian responsibility. I am proud to hear their ideas and even more proud to witness their actions such as hosting bake sales to raise money for hurricane and fire victims, picking up trash, saying ‘hello’ to people in wheel chairs, helping with Angel Tags.
There is so much goodness in the world! It seems it has to do with giving. Giving consideration to others ahead of myself. Giving to Angel Tags gifts. Giving time and so much talent at the Christmas concert. Giving prayers and words of encouragement to those in need. Giving the gift of ourselves, our time, to our loved ones. Consider going to a movie, mass or a ball game, baking cookies, helping to shop or wrap packages or decorate, whatever you are good at or want to be good at … try doing it for someone you care about. When we empty ourselves of
self-centeredness, we make space that fills up with the love of Jesus. We point to Jesus.
In a spirit of networking, I want to share that in January, we will be looking for a new Business Manager for the parish. We will advertise both in and outside the parish. We trust that God will bring us the right person to manage our business processes, connect with the people that God brings to our doors, and lead us in ways to Encounter Jesus and Be Disciples.
In a spirit of giving, I want to remind everyone, including my own family, tis the season! To remember our favorite charitable organizations and of course the parish in year-end giving. It is easy to get busy and postpone this task. It is so important to keep the parish not only going, but growing. The fruit of the gifts of our hands is immeasurable. I am convinced that God is working in and through the people of Padre Serra Parish to point to Jesus. Thank you.
God bless you and all those you love this Christmas,
Parish Life Minister