From the Pastor – October 27, 2019

This coming Saturday, November 2nd, we once again welcome Bishop Manny Cruz, Vicar of Union County, to our parish as the confirming bishop. He will celebrate the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Confirmation for our young people. BIENVENIDA, BISHOP MANNY!!! CONGRATULATIONS to our young people celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation on Saturday. As they grow in the grace and wisdom of the sacrament, may they also be good examples to all of us of the presence of Jesus in their lives. In today’s Gospel, the familiar story of the Pharisee and tax collector is proclaimed.  The Pharisees were the leaders of the temple, and they became so ingratiated with themselves that everyone else was looked down upon. They were arrogant and self-righteous and believed that they were better than everyone else, especially tax collectors. On the other hand, the tax collectors were seen as enemies of Israel because they worked for the force occupying their country, the Romans. In addition, they made money not just collecting taxes, by taking bribes, which made them wealthy. Yet, it was the tax collector who stood humbly before God seeking his mercy.  While we recognize that we are all sinners, it is easy to fall into the trap that because of our faith in God we deserve his mercy, love and forgiveness. God’s love is freely given to us, not because we deserve it but because of his generosity and care for us. His love, as expressed in Christ Jesus, is a call to holiness and goodness, and is meant to be reflected in who we are as his people and how we should live. In revealing the secrets of his heart to us, Jesus has invited us to help make the kingdom of God a reality for all we meet. These are the qualities of the kingdom: justice, mercy, compassion, equality and forgiveness. If we want to be credible witnesses of Jesus, then these qualities have to be a part of who we are and how we live. We have to be able to recognize that we are all equal to the task of working for the kingdom, and there is no discrimination of any sort in our efforts.  We all stand under the power of the Word and because of this, the Word must permeate our being so that it is reflected in everything we say and do. This is how the kingdom of God is built on earth by the efforts of all of us willing to listen and learn from the Master. No one is better than the other in helping build the kingdom because we are all connected to each other by virtue of our baptism and our relationship to Christ.  HAPPY ALL SAINTS DAY!! ~  FR. JOE