May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement
and good hope through his grace,
encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.
2 Thes 2: 16,17
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
During the month of November, particularly with the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed on November 2, we remember those who have died. Some of these we know personally, such as our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, close friends. Some are part of the community of faith and we may know them because they are one of our parishioners or someone with whom we knew as a child. As we remember these dear people, we also long to be with them, to join them in heaven. How do we reconcile this earthly living with the resurrected life promising us to be with God that is yet to come?
St. Paul tells us that God’s presence is always with us, seeking our well-being. God’s presence is profoundly known when we incarnate this truth in our loving care of one another. In the Eucharist, we become what we receive; as we partake of this heavenly feast with Christ to transform the world. We are His arms to gather the forsaken, His legs to walk with the troubled, His lips to speak His enduring word of hope; His ears to listen for the whisper of joy or despair; His eyes to view the beauty of creation and to nurture this gift; His heart to pray unceasingly with love for one another.
What does that really look like in our Diocese of Orlando? You might have some ideas. The creation of a new parish, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini in Lake Nona; the groundbreaking for a parish center in St. Vincent de Paul, Wildwood, and the diocesan celebrations of the Red Mass, for the legal profession, and the White Mass, for the medical profession, are the outward experiences of God’s love through growing communities of faith. The jubilee celebration of Sr. Catherine Noecker, OSF; the ‘Go Beyond Women’s Conference’, The Life Chain, and Soup Bowl Supper, for our homeless brothers and sisters at Pathways to Care, are celebrations of God’s treasures entrusted to our care.
Within each of these are the forming of God’s people to ‘join in’ and to be Christ to one another. It begins with you, with your faith. Pope Francis said we must tap into the Spirit; “to enter the Word of God is to be open to step outside one’s own boundaries in order to encounter and conform to Christ who is the living Word of the Father.” Who will carry His Word to others? You do. From a child reaching to another who fell on the playground to a joyous reunion of child and parent after a day at school or work to uttering the words, “I do”, in union with God through the Sacrament of Marriage to sitting with the Lord in prayer during Adoration to feeding those without food and finding them shelter . . . you make room in your heart for God, that your actions might be one.
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ. Amen.