Friends, in this weekend’s gospel, we hear the judge think to himself “since this woman keeps pestering me, I must give this widow her just rights, or she will persist in coming and worry me to death!”
Church leaders can sometimes feel like broken records “persistently pestering” their congregations to take up Christ’s mandate to share the Good News. Yet it is precisely so that the “poor widows” among us, that is, the financially, socially or spiritually disadvantaged may encounter the presence and assistance of God.
It is possible to get so used to hearing the Church calling, or “pestering” us that the call can lose some of its urgency. Yet the message remains urgent. Sharing the Good News can take many forms, hence the different ministry teams the parish is introducing. This is so that our parish may sing out the message of Christ with harmony. One of the ministry teams we will create, will be the Service & Outreach Ministry, which will coordinate the social justice activity of our parish. The dreaming video for Service & Outreach will be played this weekend.
Christian service and outreach is founded upon the gratitude – the thanksgiving – that we have towards the God who came to us in our ultimate poverty and ultimately captivity – the poverty of being alone and the captivity of sin and death. This God made a gift to us of his very self! We touched it in Jesus. We saw it on the cross. We have eaten it Sunday after Sunday since then. Eucharist (Greek for Thanksgiving) then becomes both: a receiving of God’s love and liberation as well as an offering of thanksgiving back to God. How empty our Eucharist would be then, if it did not carry over into our own living? If we claimed to become who we eat, but showed nothing of God’s generosity and concern in our own lives?
For me, I dream that this parish will be a sacrament of God’s liberation. That those who encounter us will encounter in our care and concern, the presence of someone greater than us. The presence of God. I dream that as we encounter the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, so may the real presence of God be felt in our care for the disadvantaged. Do you have a dream for this ministry area could look like in our parish? Please share your thoughts: Service & Outreach.
We are now about three weeks away from the Parish summit (5 November). The Summit is again, a gift from God. It is God’s answer to the yearnings of all those in the pews who have sighed at the work needed to breathe life in to the church and have not known how or who can help make it happen. It is given to a church which so often finds itself saying, “wouldn’t it be great if the church did this… or that…”. This summit is a rare opportunity, where we have a chance to find and to sit with parishioners who shared our dreams and actually commit to making them a reality, as a team. What is the alternative, if not to sit alone in the pew and wish away and then feel overwhelmed, unsupported and under-resourced at the thought of doing something all by ourselves?
I trust that you will be willing to give of your time and dreaming on the summit day as an act of gratitude to the Church for having embraced and nourished you since your baptism. I trust also that you will come out of thanksgiving to God who first gave himself to you.
See you in the week,
Fr Francis Fernandes