My dear parishioners, in a few days we bring our Year of Grace 2015 to a close in the Church liturgical year, the wonderful seasons and feast day celebrations of Catholic worship
in spirit and in truth
. Surely the worthy things of life have value both on earth and in heaven. Therefore it’s appropriate that you and I reflect on just how much we need God our loving father. And also reflect on human frailty and mortality.
God is the sum and summary of your faith’s journey. God is the summit of all the good that you desire. He is simultaneously the path and the destination of your hope. He alone can satisfy the longing of men and women everywhere for life, peace, abundance and friendship.
The moment you grasp that
God will be everything to everyone
[1Cor 15:28], you awaken like a bird that stirs restlessly before a long and ancient migration. The Christian pilgrimage of faith leads everyone to the same destination: God the origin of all truth and goodness. In crucial and very personal ways, we should add, your path to God is different from other human beings. When you realize how attentive God is to you personally and providentially, you approach God with the confident assurance that he is
So many persons stagger under a backbreaking burden they have no right to carry. Little wonder that countless human beings, overpowered by evil, are passing away like a multitude of dried leaves that the cold autumn wind stirs up and then abandons. They deny the truth and goodness of God. So they struggle alone in this life, filled with anxiety and fears. Yes, the "form of this world is passing away" [1Cor 7:31], but anyone who denies God carries the full weight of its crushing burden
and in the next life.
Few things are more fleeting and erratic as man's conflicted nature. He applauds the good while simultaneously romancing evil. He is horrified by the scandal of his own mortality, yet sadly he craves solace and comfort in money, things, distractions and a multitude of sins. As if these could save him. However, the soul that pushes God out cannot remain empty. It must be filled, and hence many substitutes and false gods are placed there.
Faith, according the present generation, is reliance on a comfortable life and social empowerment. This materialistic “faith” matters a great deal to people who live without God. It matters to captured birds as well, but not so much that birds will forsake their true nature. As their owners will tell you, a bird will aim for the open sky if given a chance. It will forsake a comfortable lodging, toys, food and its attentive warden for the joy of the tree tops and, I might add, to an enormous confrontation with freedom. The human being who denies God cannot do this. His material world is a big cage from which escape is impossible on his own terms.
Think about it. When have you or anyone prayed to the “scientific method”? When have you prayed to yourself? When, in great need, have you called out to your very own self for help? “When I was a boy” recalled the late Monsignor Luigi Giussani of Milan (Milan, Italy), “I got lost in the great forest of Tradate and, seized with panic, I cried out for all of three hours as the sun went down. That experience showed me—afterwards—that man means ‘seeking’: man becomes ‘seeking’ if he cries out, but he only cries out if there is something other. His cry implies the existence of something other. If not, why would he cry out at all?” Dear friends, that “other” is God our Creator!
Understand that human faith, impelled by hope, seeks a
home for love. God will be won over by your feeble but persistent spiritual efforts. He will pour out his truth and his grace to strengthen you for the
. Give your all to him on earth, and he will be your all in heaven. “He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” [Mic 6:8]
Sincerely in the hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Reverend Richard Barker.
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Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Auxiliary Msgr. George Sheltz
Retired Auxilliary Vincent Rizzotto
Most Rev. Joseph A. Fiorenza
Reverend Richard Barker