Your Faith Carries Us Priests
“It’s our people’s faith that has carried us on during this pandemic.” I’ve heard this comment from many of my brother priests. It’s true for us, your priests of this parish. It’s your piety, perseverance, and faith that have kept us priests persevering in our ministry.
I would say that this is also the sentiment of our parish staff, leaders, and volunteers. During our weekday and Sunday Masses, your presence in person or live-streamed encourages us to keep fulfilling our ministries and responsibilities. Despite these challenging economic times, your financial support inspires us to keep believing in our mission to bring the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ to all people.
Personally, it’s the legacy of your faith and service to the parish that has also profoundly impressed me. Many of you have been long-time members of this parish. You have served the community in various capacities and ways. You have tremendous loyalty, love, and dedication to your church.
I feel like St. Paul in this Sunday’s Second Reading when he wrote the Thessalonians:
“We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers and sisters, how you were chosen. For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.”
Indeed, the power and work of the Holy Spirit are evident among us in this community. God never abandons us. He pours his Spirit into our hearts and transforms us to live in peace, harmony, love, and mercy with our families, friends, neighbors, and other people.
The devil can tempt us to doubt God’s power and presence during this pandemic, discouraging us to hope for a better world. When this temptation comes, we must review our salvation history to see God’s saving hand from any sufferings and distress.
Take the event that took place in the lives of the Israelites that we hear from the First Reading this Sunday. Preaching toward the end of the exile (C. 553 BC), Isaiah announces that their sentence is complete. The Lord calls Cyrus, an ascendant ruler in Persia, to conquer the Babylonians and allow the exiles to return home. Cyrus is the Lord’s “anointed.” Through him, God would liberate the Israelites from exile and make his glory known.
Let’s keep praying and hoping for faith-filled leaders in our church and government, especially in our country during this coming presidential election. Let’s also pray for peace, unity, and reconciliation in our society. Let’s exercise our right to vote according to a well-formed conscience and our democratic principles. As Pope Francis says:
“We need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern.”
With these words of the Holy Father, we interpret the mandate of Jesus in this Sunday’s Gospel,
“Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
Your loving pastor,
Fr. Rodel "Odey" Balagtas
Photo taken by Fr. John O'Brien
on Friday, October 16 at 6:30PM