May 26, 2019: The Sixth Sunday of Easter - Pastor’s Corner
Jesus’ final words to his followers (and to us) is to go forth and preach the Gospel. Jesus does not simply call us to follow him, but to share our experience of him with others so that they too, might join the journey. This year we welcomed almost 100 adults and children into the deeper experience of the faith through the sacraments of Baptism, 1st Communion and Confirmation. As excited as we are for them to join us, the point is not simply to make new parishioners or expand our parish roster, but to empower St. Dominic’s to share the good news by Radiating the Joy of the Gospel. A good example is Megan Nobert. I confirmed her at the Easter Vigil and over the past few weeks she has shared reflections on the May Mystagogy series, which calls us to live the faith we believe. I was inspired by her insights and passion and I hope that you are as well!
~ Fr Michael
Reflection and Philosophy from an Adult Confirmand.
On Tuesday, May 7, all were welcomed in joining fellow RCIA participants as we embarked together on the church's Mystagogia Series for the second half of the RCIA Journey. Organized in four parts, we came together in deepening our understandings of the mysteries of our faith. Fr. Bart Landry, a former Pastor of St. Mary's Cathedral, graced us with a powerful kickoff presentation, “Christ Revealed, Christ Lived.” We started the evening with a reading from Hebrews 10:22-24 and a Psalm 51:10 prayer to clean and open our hearts to the topic of Christ, the revelation, and evangelization. With over a hundred names to reference our LORD, Fr. Bart invited us to ponder the significance of not only Christ's name, but our own names. What is the significance of the name Jesus – to you and to me? It gives personification to the Holy Spirit; he becomes a real person – in our hearts and amongst each other. We are created in God's image and are called to become like Jesus through the Gospel of The Lord, our vocations, our very personal and individual experience with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, as well as the seemingly mundane aspects of our lives, in service to one another. Fr. Bart reminded us that God is speaking through others and even ourselves. We can be openly receptive to the signs using our ears, hearts, eyes and feet. In turning to The Gospel for prayer, we can come to know God better and deepen our faith.
Fr. Bart invites us to pay close attention in our day-to-day lives; Jesus is constantly speaking to us, but it is up to us to listen and discern our gifts and vocation, as well as help others reveal their gifts. But what does this specifically look like? How do we share the good news and be receptacles of Christ's love? BREAKING NEWS: through Evangelization! I know, we are reminded to do this at the end of every Mass. But I struggle myself with a desire to share newfound faith with a society seemingly unwilling to listen. As Catholics, we've been shamed in the media and sometimes even by judgmental nonbelievers in our own lives. Perhaps you've seen bad examples, so you shrink away from it. I used to think of Evangelization as some loud person standing on a milk crate on Market Street preaching the Gospel to those who pass by, warning crowds about the end of the world. But it doesn't have to be like this. We don't have to operate from the driving force of fear.
We can start by evangelizing with one another within our community so that we can become beacons of faith and love to those outside of church. We can pay attention to our words and our actions, and, as Fr. Bart suggests, hold each other accountable. We can gently share reminders about the seven virtues when we recognize sin and share alternative viewpoints that fill gaps in each other’s faith. We can respond in compassion to one another when we don't understand something, or feel tempted to sin. We can teach our strengths to others weaknesses. We can encourage ministry and confession to foster everlasting faith and union with God. We can remind one another to follow the Ten Commandments consistently. We can not only follow through with our Penance after confession, but also choose to implement the advice of our holy priests. In coming together as a community, we become a lighthouse for spirituality. We can commit to learning more through daily prayer exploration, Sunday focus on faith, and bible study. But it's not easy or simple. It is a gradual process of building consistent habits of working diligently toward becoming saints in our daily lives.
Fr. Bart and many others had the humility to share their doubts and challenges in communicating with Christ through one another and the Holy Spirit. We feel inspired when the homily ends, but then we go back to our day-to-day lives and lose steam throughout the week. We are called and fulfilled in vocations, yet we struggle with happiness. We feel physical pain and see people do bad things to good people, and so we struggle with the problem of evil. So how do we overcome? By choosing to love one another every day, we are blessed with life. By reflecting deeply on the wisdom from our church homilies, confessions, and by regularly participating and serving in our community. By fulfilling God's plan in sharing the fruit of the Holy Spirit through willing the good of others. By recognizing when we aren’t feeling joy or inspiration and adopting the habits and mindsets of those who do. By helping teach those who are vulnerable to sin how to choose love when we know how. And lastly, but often sadly forgotten, in treating our bodies like a temple by adopting self-care rituals and actively working to heal from our sins by forgiving ourselves and those who have trespassed against us. At the end of the day, if we do not truly love ourselves, we cannot fully love others. Christ is revealing himself to you right now. He is Risen. He is inviting us to participate with each other and grow our community. Will you RSVP attending?
Megan Nobert is a newly confirmed parishioner of St. Dominic’s and welcomes your thoughts, reactions and ideas. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org