May 22nd Pastor Message
Read this week's message from Father Don.
EXPERIENCING JESUS’ LOVE – through sharing in his work
Are you stressed and over-burdened with the demands of everyday life? Jesus wants to lift your heart and open your eyes to see things in a new way …. and he does so primarily by inviting you to share in his work of building the Kingdom of God.
Jesus both comforts and invites
In the gospels, Jesus often speaks words of comfort, e.g. Come to me all you who are heavy-burdened and I will give you rest (Mt. 11.28), and we receive such messages gratefully since we frequently feel in need of comforting. Modern life in the western world appears to be hard and stressful and so Jesus’ words of tenderness and consolation are very appealing to us.
Other sayings of Jesus, however, we find much less appealing because they seem to make demands of us, e.g. Take up your cross and follow me (Mt. 16.24); I appointed you to go and bear fruit that will last (Jn. 15.16). These are the kind of sayings that we prefer to ignore. Accepting the comforting messages, however, and avoiding the challenging ones is a mistake, a mistake founded on a misunderstanding.
Jesus does not present two different messages but only one. His comforting cannot be separated from his inviting, for it is precisely through accepting his invitation to share in his work that we experience his comforting.
Let me offer an example…. Joe S., a good Catholic, was feeling very overwhelmed with work and family struggles. He turned to Jesus for encouragement and affirmation. A few days later, Joe was talking to a struggling co-worker and began to share with him a little about Jesus and the benefit that comes from prayer. The man was intrigued and, at the end of the conversation, asked Joe to pray over him. The experience lifted Joe’ heart tremendously and put into perspective the stresses of his everyday life. Joe was comforted precisely because of his willingness to share in Jesus’ work of building the Kingdom of God.
How did we become such an anxious and stressed generation?
The Evil One has tricked us into focusing our attention on the struggles and stresses of everyday life and losing sight of the big picture, i.e. the blessings God bestows upon us and our capacity to do real good in the world.
We say “I have no time for God’s work, I am struggling to even finish my office work.” In this way, we become prisoners of the world, unable to properly experience the liberating love of Christ who invites us to share in that vast and empowering work of building God’s kingdom.
When we wake up in the morning let us not ask ourselves “How many tasks do I need to complete today?” but rather “Today, how can I share in Jesus’ work of building the kingdom?”
Let us not lose sight of Jesus (Hebrews 12.2)