Stand or Fail?

 

It is not easy being Christian and Catholic in today’s world. It simply isn’t and that is the hard truth. Our society, because of the critical nature of the media in large part, tends to view people of faith and morals with some distrust. And, sadly, many folks who follow the Christian faith, use it as a weapon against others. That is a challenge for us, but one that is not insurmountable.

I spent last week being a pastor. I took a stand; a hard stand on inclusion within our school and parish. I stated, rather empathically, that as long as I am pastor there would be no hate practiced at Saint Miriam. I meant it. We lost one parishioner who stated that I needed to exclude divorced people from Communion. No. I will not. There is enough hatred and divisiveness in the world today. I want us to be better than that, to become what the world is to be under the reign of our loving God; not a place of hate. We will learn to love by loving. Yes, there are rules, but then there are people. That is more important. No, it is not easy being Christian and Catholic in today’s world.

Paul and Barnabas this week experience something similar in Sundya’s First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles. The people of Antioch in Pisidia “expel [them] from the territory.” No one likes or appreciates rejection. It is humiliating and discouraging. There may be times in our own lives when we follow firmly our Catholic beliefs and experience something similar. However, like Paul and Barnabas, we need to become even more determined in our desire to be a Disciple of the Lord.

In their case, they moved on to Iconium and continued their ministry and their firm message of love and hope. In fact, Sacred Scripture adds, “The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.”  We, too, need to seek that joy and to understand that we have been blessed and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

This past week, I pleaded with all of you, as my fellow parishioners, to stand up for what we believe in and support the good of of our parish by pledging to our annual stewardship appeal. We have grown in many ways since our move to this beautiful campus by almost 19%! And, 11.2% of those new folks signed up to give a regular and recurring donation every week. Sadly, 78% of others have not. This is not only unacceptable, but we cannot make budget. If this is your will, we will fail. It is as simple – and sad – as that. Perhaps, after all, I am not the right leader if I cannot even encourage us to do the bare minimum as Christians and support the work of the church… 
 
The redwood trees of northern California coast are the tallest trees on earth. These skyscrapers reach over 350 feet in height, a scale that is difficult to comprehend until it is seen first hand. What most people never know is that the root system of the redwood tree is surprisingly shallow, especially given the great height the mature tree attains. There is no tap root and the other roots may reach no deeper than a mere ten feet. Even the major roots are less than one inch in diameter and they typically spread 50 to 80 feet. These roots grow so shallow and yet they need to support a tree that is the height of a football field! So how are these shallow roots able to do their job?  Well, one way in which the trees are able to remain upright for millennia is by growing close together with other redwood trees, intermingling root systems. In other words, they stand close and hold on to one another and that gives them the strength to withstand storm and age…
 

Blessed Mother Teresa once said, “Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness.”  Like Paul and Barnabas, and Mother Teresa, we need to seek and utilize God’s strength and support the work of the church. In other words, we need you, too.

Today, it is your choice.  Click Here and pledge today. 

Stand or fail?