Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This weekend’s first reading begins with the words of God to Isaiah: “Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not!” I believe that these words come at the perfect time for us, as there are many issues around that can cause fear and apprehension in our hearts.
We can create an endless list that frightens our hearts. It can go from the rise of Delta cases, to the increase of the opioid crisis, mental health, the instability of the house market, the shortage of supplies, the recent decisions of government leaders, sugar levels, cholesterol, first day of school for the kids…. Depending how we see life, we can say that everything is a threat to us. The moment that we lose sight of God and start looking only at ourselves we can easily panic. These are the moments that are important for us to stop, and take a step back. Contemplation and reflection are very important weapons that the Church teaches against anxieties. When we stop and look deeper into our lives, especially those (including extremely) difficult moments that we went through, how did we get past those events? What was that source that strengthened, encouraged, sustained us during those periods? There we find the answer for all our troubles. God always comes to save us! He may not give what we desired or asked for, but certainly He never turns his back on us.
As I was watching the news this week and praying for the recovery of the people in Louisiana after hurricane Ida struck it, I began to remember the month that I spent there on the fourth anniversary of Katrina. Looking at the neighborhoods that were mostly affected, I thought to myself, how can people move on after losing everything. Again, only looking into our reality, we forget all the other people that were able to reconstruct their lives. We have had many hurricanes in the short and long past that have caused great damages, including our own church! And what has happened after all that? God always helps us to get back on our feet and continue our journey to heaven. Yes, there are many difficulties in our lives (who said that they weren’t), but greater the challenge, even greater will be God’s intervention, as the first reading continues, “Here is your God… He comes to save you.”
This weekend we have the opportunity to come and contemplate how much God has done in our lives during our 24Hr Adoration. It’s important to be reminded how close God is to us and how He never abandons us. This particular adoration, we will also pray for all of those suffering from addiction and substance abuse. I encourage you to pray also for their families, as they accompany the struggles of their loved ones. We are not here to judge anyone, but only to support and accompany them in such a difficult journey. As there are many sad stories involving this issue, there are also many happy endings to those who were able to get back on their feet.
Everyone is welcome to come and pray. Whether you want to bring a friend or the children, the church will remain open from Sunday 6pm to Monday 6pm with the blessed sacrament exposed. If you would like to sign up for an hour you can go to the parish website or our Facebook page. Otherwise come at any time! Look up to the Lord, and let him strengthen and encourage you. As Christ says in the Gospel, “come to me all of you who are tired and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11:28).
Father Steven Clemence