Become builders of the City of Love – October 2023

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Be faithful to God’s Covenant in all that you are. God cherishes you, and I know you also cherish God’s Covenant. Upholding all in prayer keeps us close to God’s Covenant. Prayer allows us to speak to God “face to face” as we talk to God about our individual needs and troubles, but also recognizing the larger community, our family, our friends, and those with whom we work and play. Through prayer, we are able to “bear all” to God, as He listens with perfect love and guides us in His way of Peace.

God’s Peace is effusive with forgiveness. That is what St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians. We receive God’s Peace when we are able to forgive; we must forgive our brothers and sisters as we ask to be forgiven. St. Paul’s words for our benefit are beautiful:

“. . . whatever is true, whatever is honorable,

whatever is just, whatever is pure,

whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,

if there is any excellence

and if there is anything worthy of praise,

think about these things.

Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.

Then the God of peace will be with you.”

The way to God’s Peace is to continue to focus on God. It seems so simple. Yet, we struggle to not judge one another, or to fall into the trap of gossip, or to misuse our bodies sexually, or to fight with our parents or siblings and leave them behind. Yes, our list of transgressions may seem endless. We are called to serve God and serve one another. We begin our day with prayer, asking God for all we need that we might glorify His day. We end our day with prayer, praising God for the gift of life and for all our encounters. We pray that our encounters flourish His Kingdom by bringing forth His goodness.

Let us not stop at prayer in our homes; but let us avail ourselves to the perfect prayer, that of the celebration of Mass. It is within this prayer that we are able to receive Jesus the Eucharist as the bread and wine is consecrated to become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Father Adam Marchese, Army chaplain, humbly said, “I may celebrate Mass on the back of my backpack because that’s the only place I have a flat surface, but in the same way it is as if we are in a grand Cathedral . . .because those receiving are filled with the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.”

Father Fidel Rodriguez Cuza of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, St. Cloud, reminds us that “Jesus wants us to be builders of the City of Love. When you come to Mass you enter as one person and leave a better person because you have the Presence of Jesus with you.”

Speaking as St. Paul tells us, Father Zachary Parker, Ascension Catholic Church, Melbourne, said, “You are a son or daughter of God from the beginning. God chose you and wants to be with you through all things. You don’t have to be afraid of anything.”

Father Matthew Hawkins, St. Paul Catholic Church, Leesburg, expounds on the bond of God’s Covenant, “It is the love of Christ that compels us to share Him with those people we encounter.”

October is a month dedicated to honoring our Blessed Mother as she serves God by drawing His people closer to eternal life. As we honor our Blessed Mother, we also carry the responsibility to respect and cherish God’s creation from conception through natural death and to minister to those whose dignity is compromised by the terror of domestic violence. As St. Paul speaks to us through his words to the Philippians, we receive encouragement in Christ through the Eucharist and become united in His heart. Then, all the other difficulties of service fall away for our love, through, with and in Christ, transcends any doubt or selfishness or vainglory. We humbly regard others as more important than ourselves.

After receiving Communion during Mass, we kneel in silent prayer and awe at the mystery of whom we have received. Let us receive the blessing from the arms of the Eucharist to embrace all His people with His perfect love. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.