May 13, 2018 – Pastoral Impressions by Fr. Bill

In the last few weeks we have been celebrating the events of Holy Week and Easter, and today we hear more about the implications of these events in the lives of Christians. In the Gospel of John we listen to Jesus’ final prayer for his disciples. The scene is the Last Supper, and Jesus is preparing for his departure, leaving his followers to carry on the work of bringing the message of salvation to the world. Jesus knows that this work of ministry to the world will not be easy. The values and lifestyle of Christians are not popular in the world at large. Nevertheless, Jesus prays that the disciples will go into the often hostile, worldly environment with joy. They are prepared for their mission, being consecrated in the truth of God’s word. With this prayer, they are sent forth.
Our readings today provide us with a good reality check. How real is our faith? What does our faith mean to us in our everyday lives? If we truly strive to live as Christ taught, we will experience joy and fulfillment, but also suffering, disappointment, and frustration. However, we are not alone. That’s why we come here regularly to worship together. We draw strength from the Word and the Eucharist but also from one another. When we look around and see each other, we encourage each other simply by our presence. We know we are not alone in practicing our faith, Sometimes the best sermons at Mass are the people around us. There are the elderly and infirm for whom coming to church means leaving the comfort of home. Their journey may entail pain and inconvenience, but they are here. We have to admire parents who come with young ones, teaching them how important it is to worship together. We also see people whom we know lead very busy lives with daily responsibilities and challenges. They are here. Noticing the presence of all these people strengthens our faith.
As the letter of John says, “we are thankful to our loving God for the gift of faith and we draw inspiration and support from each other as we journey in faith together. And so, the work of the apostles continues today.

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