Help is on the Way!

05-15-2016Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. (Matt 7:21)

During the Play “Faustina, Messenger of Divine Mercy” which we hosted in January to begin the Jubilee of Mercy one particular scene hit me hard. In one of the dialogues between Jesus and St. Faustina, which she recorded in her diary, Faustina is hemming and hawing about doing some of the things Jesus requested of her because she was worried about the response she would get from others and Jesus turns to her and says, “Faustina, I will demand many souls from you”. My thought was “well if Jesus is expecting many souls from Faustina how many more is He expecting of me as a priest?” I certainly don’t want to appear empty handed before the Lord or make excuses about why I did not win more souls to Christ.

I pictured myself standing before Christ and fumbling for excuses much like the man in the Gospel parable of the talents who buried the talent the Master gave him and could offer no return on investment. What do you say? “Well you see Lord the culture was very unreceptive to the message.” The Lord could shoot back: “Well many of my people lived in much worse times and were persecuted until death and still won many souls for me.” Of course then there is the excuse that I was no Fulton Sheen. But then the Lord could say, “I gave you as a priest the power to bring my very presence to others and the authority to forgive sins in my name…” Fact is there will be no good excuse, no reasonable defense for not bearing fruit for the Kingdom of Christ. So lets get on with the work of bringing souls to Christ with a singleness of purpose and firm resolve. No excuses.

The point is that Jesus gifts us with the Spirit so that we can win many souls to Christ and thereby enrich His Church now and bear much fruit for his Kingdom. That is pretty much the mandate for every Christian. Simple but not easy. How exactly in our world today with so much skepticism and increasing hostility to people of Faith do we carry out the mission? Remember self-reliance is good as far as it goes but it does not go far enough. We must trust God and rely on the Holy Spirit.

Well fortunately for us help is on the way! The Servants of the Plan of God that God has chosen to send us will certainly help us find creative ways to win over others to Christ. Part of their mission is to witness joyfully to the Risen Christ not only by evangelizing but also by the witness of their lives. There I think is the real key to opening up the gifts of the Holy Spirit in our age. The more we learn as Church to be Church the more attractive the Gospel becomes to others. The darker the times become the more opportunity we have to be the light for others.

The Sisters have a gift to share and they know it. But the question we should all ask ourselves on this Pentecost Sunday is: do each of us know that we too have a gift to share and a part to play in the mission of the Church?

So over the next few weeks keep the Sisters in your prayers as they prepare to leave their home and start a new mission in the USA. Pray also that we as a Parish will be open to whatever God wants to do with us and for us. 

Fr. John B

P.S. Join us Saturday at 6pm in McCready Hall for a celebration of the Lord’s Day Dinner. (It’s also my 28th Anniversary of Ordination so come celebrate). You can RSVP on our website under “Events: OLMC & City of the Lord”.