From the desk of Fr Stephen 26July20

From the desk of Fr Stephen

Here in America, as much as anywhere in the world, we are taught to be independent.  In 1776, the people in America fought a war with the British to establish our independence.  Over the decades, we have prided ourselves on this independence, so much so, that some have taken the attitude of “this is America where we have freedom, and you can’t tell me what to do.”  We have seen this recently in some when they have been asked to wear a face mask.  No matter how much we might try to reason with them, having a free expression of choice is more important to them than their health.  As a matter of fact, their freedom of speech/choice is more important to them than America's collective health.  To me, this seems to be a very selfish attitude.  As long as their needs are being met, they are happy even if they are infecting countless others.  Being a Christian means putting aside our desires sometimes and thinking about the needs of others.

One of the other things that can happen with an independent attitude is that we can forget about God.  We may become so independent that we feel no need or desire to establish a relationship with God.  Or we may come to God only when it meets our agenda, and not regularly.  But even with this attitude, God still does not give up on us.  In Paul’s letter today, he reminds us that, in reality, everything starts with God.  Since I have been here at the “Rock,” I have heard the phrase TO GOD GIVE THE GLORY many times.  I like to hear that phrase and need to constantly hear it when I think I am in control.  St. Paul says that God is continuously calling us into a relationship with Him.  If you feel connected to God today, thank Him for that because it only means you have heard His voice.

I have had, on many occasions, as a priest, someone come up to me and want to go to confession.  Sometimes the person has been away from the Church for some time and has not been to confession in a while.  I might ask them, “what is bringing you to the sacrament today?”  I ask them this because I want to know if something has changed in their life.  Why, after so many years, are they coming to confession today.  Sometimes they have a clear reason as to why they come, but sometimes they say, “It was just time.”  I take this occasion to remind them that they are just then answering the call of God.  I believe God is calling us into relationship all the time.  Anything we do in life starts with God.  He is the inspiration and source of everything we do in life, and so I have to say again TO GOD GIVE THE GLORY.  God is the source of everything in life, and we need to thank Him for this.  As Christians, we need to set aside our independent attitude and listen to the prompting of Jesus' Spirit.