Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: My Column

July 29, 2018 Bulletin Cover

Dear followers of Jesus,

The cover of today’s bulletin is the Cross and Anchor, a hand-carved image of the logo of the Congregation of Holy Cross. This carving now hangs in the lobby of Sacred Heart Church. This image tells us of our identity, not an identity of a religious community only, but the reality that our lives in Christ are beautiful and abundant. There is nothing, no suffering or turmoil, which will not be redeemed and forgiven in Christ. The logo of our religious community is not counterfeit or simplistic. This logo is a statement that all of life shall find its newness in Christ. The refreshing, loving and forgiving promise that through Christ’s suffering all shall be well in his resurrection.

On Saturday, July 28, six young men in the Congregation of Holy Cross professed their First Vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience at Sacred Heart Church. These men, through the work of the Holy Spirit, show us that new life is possible and offer us a sign of hope in world. I am grateful for their witness to the Cross and Anchor.

We all have our unique call to follow the Lord Jesus. We all strive to enter into relationship with God so to find our real call, work and love in the world. The Cross and Anchor reveal to us this mystery for every person who enters our lobby. In our church, we are to find the hope in the resurrection through our suffering and humanity that life is indeed full of wonder, sacrifice, hope and integrity.

Today’s second reading inflates our souls and expands our faith. This text from Ephesians gives us great hope in our following of Jesus, no matter our call or our suffering. “I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love…” This is our call as Christians to live the message of the Crucified. His death and resurrection is not just about what Jesus once accomplished, but it is about what Jesus is doing within our lives to transform the world.

Prayer and service in Christ should lead us into the depths of loving. This is the call in which our text invites us to reflect upon. The call that each of us has been given is to find within our hearts joy, beauty and wonder. This comes from understanding our suffering and coming to terms with our faith, our real faith in the Lord Jesus who will restore all things into his life, all suffering and messiness, all misfortune and ill will, all hardship and death, into the glory of resurrection. Let us all find this to be our calling!

Take some time this week for personal prayer and reflect upon this text from Ephesians. How can you live in the manner worthy of your call? As a parent? As a spouse? What does it mean for you to live with humility and gentleness, with patience and bearing with one another in love? Ask God for these things in your call to follow the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus.

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