WELCOME TO ST. FRANCIS
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.
From your Pastor
Today’s readings are linked together by one main theme: the power of Christian love, when exercised in unconditional forgiveness. The readings also instruct us about our right and wrong choices. The right choices lead us to God, and the wrong ones break our relationship with Him and with one another. The Gospel from St. Luke, in a particular way, contains four commands of Jesus: love, forgive, do good, and pray. They specify the kind of love that His follower is expected to show toward an enemy.
Love and forgive your enemies: This command proposes a course of action that is contrary to human nature. Jesus invites those who follow Him to repudiate their natural inclinations and instead, follow His example and the example of the Heavenly Father. He recommends, not merely a warm affection, such as one might have for one’s family, or a passionate devotion, such as one might expect between spouses, but a gracious, active interest in the welfare of precisely those persons who are antagonistic to us.
This is a type of love that cares deeply for others simply because they are created in God’s image, and wishes them well because that is what God wishes. Jesus not only commanded us to love our enemies, He also gave us the most vivid and awesome example of this type of love in action. While hanging on the cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Christian ethics consists, not in merely refraining from evil, but in actively doing good, not only to those who are friends, but to those who hate us or do evil against us. In other words, Jesus expects us to rise above our human instincts and imitate the goodness and generosity of God.
Pray for the strength to forgive. At every Mass, we pray the ‘Our Father’, asking God to forgive us as we forgive others. Our challenge is to overcome our natural inclination to hate. To meet that challenge we need to ask God for the strength to forgive each other. Each of us needs to ask: “Do I have anyone in my life I call an enemy?” If we remember how God has forgiven us, it will help us forgive others. For those who have hurt us, Jesus tells us our response should be love: “Forgive and you will be forgiven.” Jesus challenges our willingness to endure unjust suffering for His sake and the sake of His Gospel. For example, we must often endure the suffering that comes when a co-worker calls us “a religious fanatic” because we believe in the Ten Commandments; the pain that comes when family members refuse to associate with us because we take our Faith seriously and refuse to compromise our beliefs; the suffering that comes to a practicing Christian youth who is ostracized by his friends because he won’t do drugs or engage in promiscuous sexual activity. These are
examples of the “little martyrdoms” that Jesus challenges us to embrace every day in His name!
I wish you and your families a blessed week ahead.
Fr. Edison Bernavas, I.C.