Job spoke, saying:
Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?
Job has lost hope. His wife and children have died. He is covered with some horrible skin disease. Job is suffering. Through Job today, the Church explores the mystery of suffering. Job was a just man. Why do bad things happen to good people?
Let’s connect Job’s suffering to Jesus’ suffering in his Passion and Cross. Job … to … Jesus. Suffering plays a large role in the mystery of Salvation. From Job to the Cross, God reveals His love for us. Jesus speaks of God’s love for us, and “Do not be afraid.”
Almost two weeks ago, a father of five children lost his wife suddenly. Like Job, his Hope was severely challenged. He is afraid. How would he hold his family together and support them? Four of those children participate in our Partner School program and attend St. Mary’s Cathedral School with our parish support. He is a laborer in construction. His wife was a catechist. After the funeral he was like Job. He has lost much that was dear to him and now is facing the burden of his family alone. He told us of his concern that he could no longer afford to pay his children’s tuition at Cathedral School.
Our parish community stepped forward and began to help that father and his family. Catholic Charities is standing by to support him, and even sent counselors to the school to guide the teachers and support the students. Deacon Willie and I have assured the father that we will help to keep the children continue their education at the Cathedral School. In order to heal and mature, they must stay in school. We must help that family to stay together.
Our Gospel is Hope. Our mission is Hope. Our parish is about Hope, when we live our Gospel.
Jesus brought hope to the people of Capernaum by healing many and casting out devils. But he left the town, even though many more sought him for healing. We heard,
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
He came to proclaim the Kingdom of God. His mission was to preach the Kingdom of God, telling all he met, “The Kingdom of God is at hand.”
On earth, as baptized children of God, we live out the mystery of suffering and God’s mercy. This is the work of our parish. We support many works of mercy through the Church, like St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Charities and human and spiritual formation. We support proclaiming the Gospel through catechesis and spiritual formation. We do it together. All of us. Together.
This past year much of our community has been suffering in fear due to immigration fears for themselves and their loved ones. ICE sweeps and sanctuary city laws and strong political debates have divided our communities and left many people and families in fear. Some of our parents have told us that they do not even venture out to buy groceries if they can send their children. The children fear their parents may not return. This fear is real; here in our parish community.
Meanwhile, we continue to use Jesus’ words, “Be not afraid.” “Do not lose your peace.” The devil uses fear to divide us and bring us down. Jesus insists, “Do not be afraid.”
Events of the past year have diminished the hope of many in our community. Mass attendance and collections have suffered, challenging our parish’s ability to continue to grow in our programs and ability to serve all who come.
Our message must continue to be, “Do not be afraid.” And, “Do not lose your peace.” Trust in God who gave us His only Son out of His love for us.
We are all called to reaffirm our faith and our support for one another in our community. We show our own trust when we are able to say clearly to God, “Here I am, Lord. You can count on me.”
Likewise, we must reaffirm our support for our parish community. Once a year we call upon all of you to reaffirm your commitment to our parish.
I ask all of you to affirm your parish membership. Please use the parish envelopes, or the white envelopes available in the Church entrances. If we do not receive an envelope from you, how do we know you are here? Even if you can only give a small amount each week, please use the envelopes. If we do not receive an envelope from you for more than six months we must mark you as “inactive” in our parish register. Many say, “… but I have been here for many years.” OK. But we cannot know that for everyone if we do not have some sign of your attendance and support. After six months, if we hear nothing from you, we cannot know for certain you are part of the community.
Please join all of us to support our parish, saying clearly, “Here I am. You can count on me!” And please pray for that family that lost their mother. They must count upon our prayers. Ours is a Gospel of Hope.