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October 26, 2014

Love, summary of the Christian life

This week we commemorate the Fourth Anniversary of Fr. Keith's death (Oct. 24, 2010).  Do you still remember him?  While looking back to his ministry as a priest, one thing that couldn't be unnoticed was his love for God and for his people.  That love became the real forces behind his enthusiasm for the priestly service. 

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Last Tuesday I was at Tim Horton’s in the hospital with 2 parishioners.  At the coffee table, one of them said, "Fr. Keith was a great pastor, you guys have to look up to him as you do ministry in the parish."  At that occasion, I invited them to rate the "performance" of clergy at Holy Family.  One of them said, "Well, Deacon Robert is a holy man with all knowledge and insights that would help the community grow in faith.  He is working full time and raising a young family. He deserves 9/10 but one thing I would like you to remind him.  His homily is a bit too long! I don’t know Fr. Luis much.  I have to wait and see.  And you, Father Philip, don't be so upset if I tell the truth."  At that point someone came to the table and we left the rating there.  I didn't have a chance to hear it.  I thought to myself, no matter the evaluation would be, I just try to love God above everything and love the people as myself.

As a priest I often interview families who have children for Sacraments either Baptism, First Communion, First Reconciliation, Confirmation, or Marriage.  Part of conversations was:

Are you a practicing Catholic?”

About 80% answered:

I don’t go to church, but I keep God’s Commandments.” 

What do you mean that you don’t go to church but keep God’s Commandments?”

I don’t steal anything, I don’t kill anyone, I don’t commit adultery, I don’t bear false witnesses…”

I replied:

Religion is not something we shouldn’t do, but something we should do.  What do you think about the word of Jesus, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and love your neighbor as yourselves.” 

 “Well, well, … “

On the other hand, I also meet lots of people who go to church not only on Sunday, but most weekdays too, and the same those people do not care for anyone at all.  It seems like there is only God and them, and nobody else exists in this world.  The two commandments of Jesus cannot be separated.  When we love God and worship him, we draw strength from him to love our neighbor as ourselves.  It is not easy to do, but if we put ourselves in the hands of God he will do it for us.

A woman was asked by a co-worker,

"What is it like to be a Catholic Christian?"

She replied,

"It is like being a pumpkin.

God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off.

Then he cuts off the top

and scoops out all the yucky stuff.

He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, pride, jealousy, greed, adultery, laziness, etc.,

and then He carves you a new smiling face

and puts His light inside of you

to shine for all the world to see."

God bless you!