From the desk of Fr Stephen
Today’s Gospel follows the Gospel we heard last week. As you recall, last week the Lord was sending out the twelve Apostles to preach in his name. Today we hear one of the most challenging lines in all of Sacred Scripture. Jesus says we must love God above all else – something we have heard many times before, but we need to hear it again and again and again. We need to hear it over and over because it is so easy to get lost in all the things of life. Jesus makes it practical for us today. He says we must love God before our families and before our jobs. He says we must love God before any relaxation we may partake in; God must be the absolute center of our lives. We must plan the rest of our day around our relationship with God.
As a religious and a priest, this applies to me in an even greater way. Right now, I am reading the life of St. Alphonsus, I am on page 350 and half-way done. He had a long life committed to God. I am ashamed of my commitment to God and the way I lead my life when I read about the first Redemptorists. When they were on missions, they spent the whole day in the confessional and preaching the Good News. When at home, they were in their rooms praying or studying or in the chapel praying. Their whole life was caught up in evangelizing or preparing to evangelize. Where did they get the focus and resolve to commit themselves to God in this way? Certainly, for St. Alphonsus, he heard the Gospel and decided to live it totally. He called other men who also lived the Gospel out in their lives. I am now challenged to do more myself. Jesus would not have said this to his Apostles if he didn’t mean it. He says we must love nothing else before God, but not only that, we must pick up our cross daily and follow in his footsteps. What a command! And we must do it with a joyful spirit. So often we lose perspective of our time here on earth. We should spend our time getting to know God now so that he is not a stranger to us if and when we might meet him in heaven.
Some of you might be getting this bulletin before Sunday. I want to encourage you to come to the church on Saturday, June 27th for the Novena at 9:30 a.m. At 11:00 am, we are going to have a prayer service outside. It is important for the parish and the city to give witness on behalf of those who have died because of racism. So many have suffered and we need to stand with them and for them. It is good to give witness to those who may not have a voice. We cannot continue to sit idly by and watch from afar. The pandemic of racism is not going to go away on its own. We must stand united as a parish and a church and not let evil prevail.