From the desk of Fr Stephen
In our Gospel today, James and John ask the Lord to sit with him at his right and left in the Kingdom. Once again, Jesus must remind them that the Kingdom is not a place where people look for all kinds of praise and glory. Jesus says that it is in serving others that a person sits at the table of the Lord; this is a reminder for us because usually, we think of it the other way. We believe that it is good in the sight of the Lord if we have money and fame, but it isn’t. It is not in being served but in serving that we enjoy eating with Jesus.
Yesterday, October 16th, we celebrated the Feast of St. Gerard Majella. St. Gerard is a Redemptorist saint who lived in the mid-1700s. Gerard came from a very humble background and was not highly educated, yet he earned his eternal reward by being the servant of those to whom he ministered. Gerard lived only 29 years, but he worked very hard in the service of Jesus at that time. As a young brother in the Congregation, Gerard was once moved from one house to another. The rector of the house sent a note with Gerard that read, “I am sending you a useless lay brother.” As the story goes, it turns out that Gerard was far from useless. He was known to have done the work of two brothers in the house. His life was one of service, and it did not bother him to do the most menial tasks. He did it for Jesus.
Gerard was once accused of doing something inappropriate with a young woman. Like today, it was a scandal. He was brought before the superior of the house and asked about it. Gerard said nothing. It took some time, but eventually, the young woman recounted her story. It was a lie. Gerard was asked why he did not defend himself. He said he was taught to remain silent amid an accusation, no matter how serious.
One of the more famous things Gerard is known for is praying for a young woman who was going to give birth. She was afraid the birth would end in the death of her child. Gerard prayed for her and gave her his handkerchief. The baby was born healthy, but Gerard and his handkerchief have been immortalized ever since. In fact, today, many people still go to Gerard when they are pregnant, asking Gerard to pray for them and their child. We have a beautiful statue of Gerard in the back of the church and I invite you to go back and say a prayer to Gerard. You do not have to be pregnant but ask Gerard to pray for your family. Families today need a lot of prayers. Because of the world's many dangers, many families and parents live in fear for their children. St. Gerard is certainly one saint we can go to and ask that he intercede on our behalf.
Have a great week.