As we continue through this pandemic, it is easy to see why the number of cases keeps rising. Too many of us are not following the protocols needed to prevent the virus from spreading. This is especially true with young adults, some of whom tend to gather in large groups without wearing masks. It happens in outdoor restaurants and especially down the shore. While we all like to be outdoors in this heat, we still have to wear masks, keep our social distance of 6 feet and continue to wash/sanitize our hands. If all of this is happening now, what will happen in the fall when school begins and flu season conflicts with COVID-19? We try to take whatever precautions we can here in the parish, and I am sure many of you are doing the same. It’s the only way we can beat this virus.  The gift that is the kingdom of God is not just a treasure but the pearl of great price. We have an insight into the kingdom through the presence of Jesus in our lives, and as such, we can never be the same. But this kingdom has to become a reality in the way we live, so that others can come to know Jesus and understand the impact he has on our lives. Just think of all the good that we do for each other every day. We never give it a second thought that we are helping others experience the kingdom of God through us.  Consider the time and effort we make to help others in a variety of ways. It is a natural response to one another, yet we don’t necessarily see what we do in terms of the kingdom. Then we gather around the Table of the Lord to affirm what we believe and celebrate the Body and Blood of Christ that feeds and nourishes us. Then the Lord sends us forth to do it all over again. See how all of this is connected? What it needs is our openness and willingness to allow the Lord to touch and form us. We may feel, though, that our efforts may be in vain when we don’t necessarily see any change in people. Dorothy Day, the great Catholic who worked for social justice and who is on her way to canonization, always said that “one person sows, another reaps.” We can plant the seed, but someone else may come after us and reap the reward. Our job is to plant the seed and allow it to grow through the individual’s relationship with God and each other. Sometimes, this may take an entire lifetime. It is always better that one come to this realization later than not at all.  Yesterday, we celebrated the Feast of Saint James with a bilingual Mass in English and Spanish, followed by a procession with the banner of Saint James. Today, at 12:00 Noon, we have a Mass of Thanksgiving for all those who responded to COVID-19, especially the health care workers, the EMTs, the policemen and women and firemen and women. It is a way to say “Thank you” to all of them. A picnic will follow. You are all invited to join us. Bring your food, tables and chairs and everything else you need to join us.  HAPPY SUMMER!! ~ Fr. Joe 

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