First of all, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your generous support to our parish, and early Catholic Service Appeal (CSA). Your generosity makes a difference. This weekend is the KICK-OFF of our annual CSA 2020-2021. The theme for this year's appeal is “Together in Mission...Alive with Hope!” It is also about the dedication and commitment of our life. Bishop James Powers says, “A community that is made up of priest, religious and laity, all of us working on that same mission to evangelize, to go forth to all nations to bring God’s Word of Love, Hope and Salvation to all... How important it is that all do whatever we can to make our mission possible.”
Sometimes we ask why do I need to give my money to the diocese. It could be used in my local church. It is a valuable thought. The reality is we are part of the universal church; we are part of the bigger mission. “Whether promoting vocations, educating our future priests, providing lay ministry formation, teaching, evangelizing, providing outreach to youth, young adults, and those in need, diocesan ministries reach beyond the ability of any single parish to support.” We benefit from the diocese in so many different ways. You should have received the CSA booklet in the mail. It will give you a picture of how our money is used and how many lives you touched. There are some wonderful testimonies, please take time to read it.
The goal for this year for our parishes are: St. Anthony $33,648; Immaculate Conception $10,599; and St. Francis $4,834.
Please participate and reach the goal this year. Our participation becomes successful by our own participation and by encouraging others to participate. Even nonparishioners will participate for the right cause. Let us respond to Bishop James Power’s invitation and make it a successful one. If everyone makes a commitment, we will reach this goal in two or three weekends. Let us do a miracle.
Do we carry the Cross with a grateful heart?
Does Jesus sound funny in the gospel today? We all love to have a joy-filled life, but Jesus says that anyone who wants to be his follower must take up his cross. ‘Really?’ you may ask, ‘why do we have to take up a cross to follow Jesus as he asked in the Gospel today?’ What the year 2020 tells us. I have heard people say, “I wish we didn’t have the year 2020.” Always suffering is a matter of study or discussion. It always leaves us with unanswered questions.
This weekend reading reminds us what it means our discipleship, and what it demands? Look at Peter and Jeremiah. This weekend reading we see Peter objected to Jesus’ prediction of his sufferings. We hear Jeremiah says, “You duped me, O LORD and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me…”
The Gospel passage for today can be divided into two. 1) Matthew 16:21-23 Peter’s refusal to accept Jesus’ predicted suffering and death. We saw in last weekend reading Peter proclaims the faith, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then Jesus gave him “keys of the kingdom” and the authority to teach, govern, and forgive sins. Today we see when Peter heard about suffering says “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” Does it say something to us? Does Peter represent each one of us?
2) Matthew 16: 24-27 gives a definition of discipleship. If we want to be a disciple of Jesus, there are three things which one must be prepared to doing: he must deny himself, take up his cross follow Jesus. It gives us a scale to measure our life.
16:27 says, “For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.” The first coming of Christ was for the salvation of the world. In order to attain salvation, one has to believe in him. Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead (Rev. 22:12, 2 Tim 4:1). This will happen at an unexpected time (Matthew 24:36-51). So we have to be watchful, (Matthew 13:32-37). Rev 21:1-8 says, God will establish a new heaven and new earth where he will eternally dwell with all the redeemed. This will be the reward for discipleship.