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St. Francis of Assisi Parish is a Christ-centered community. We strive to be a warm, friendly and caring parish family, where the gifts and talents of all, young and old, are recognized and graciously used to nurture others, and to worship together in a vibrant and spirit-filled liturgy. We will go forth healed, affirmed and refreshed to meet the challenge of life in our spiritual growth.

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From Our Pastor Fr. Edison Bernavas, I.C.

father_edison

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

What would be your reaction to today’s Gospel reading that says Jesus came preaching, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand?” How do you think you would have reacted if you were among the first to hear Jesus’ words? Would you say, “Oh, another sermon on the Kingdom of God?” When John the Baptist came and preached, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near,” he spoke of the One who would come after him; One who would come in judgment. We read in Matthew 3:12, “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” John pictured the Messiah coming with both salvation and judgment at the same time. Yet, Jesus came preaching the same message as John, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Now this confused John the Baptist. Like the Old Testament prophets before him, John expected that the Messiah would come with salvation and judgment at the same time. In Matthew 11, we read that John the Baptist was so confused by Jesus not bringing in judgment, that he sent some of his disciples to Jesus to ask Him, “Are You the One Who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” [Matthew 11:2]. Jesus, in effect, replies by saying that the Kingdom is breaking into the reality of people’s lives and that it is a time of grace. This is a period of grace where all are called to repent and enter into the Kingdom of God. The Day of Judgment, that the Messiah brings, is still coming. But by God’s grace, they did not come at the same time. In the gospel of John, we read immediately after John 3:16, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” [John 3:17].

Jesus taught that His Kingdom is a Kingdom of grace. It is a Kingdom of healing and peace. Yes, He also taught that there would be a final judgment but now was the time of grace, a time in which to repent. Now is the time to repent. Jesus calls us to repent. If repentance is the door into the Kingdom of Heaven, then we best know what it means. Repentance is a lot more than just saying you are sorry and then going on with life without making any changes.

So when Jesus calls us to repent because the Kingdom of Heaven is near, He is calling for more than just a feeling of being sorry. He is calling us to choose:

  •  To choose to stop living a life for self and to choose to start living for God.
  •  To choose to accept Jesus as the One Who forgives your sins and to choose Him as the One to Whom you surrender control of your life.

Are there areas in your life where you have left God out of the picture? Places in your life where you have not surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus. Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near. Now is the time of grace. Now is the day to accept Jesus as the Lord and Savior of your whole life.

I wish you all a happy, blessed week ahead.

Fr. Edison Bernavas I.C.