Last Sunday, we began by praising the Lord for the wonderful gift of our moms! The first  nine  months  of  our  lives,  we  were beneath our mother’s heart: it was our joy to hear our mom’s heart beating and to hear her voice. Yes, it’s true, the only way we could show our love those first nine months was to give mom a punch or a kick every once and a while, and so we did! Then, the first few days, weeks, and months  of our lives:  we  experienced  our  moms’  love, compassion, and joy. Imagine the first time our little eyes and our little souls saw our mom’s face for  the  first  time!  Pure  delight!  Our  first  years,  our mom’s continued to surround us with their love and care! We are so grateful to our Lord for the gift of our moms!
   I am so grateful to my own mom, who is now with our Lord in Heaven. I experienced all of the love that I wrote  about  above  and  she  also  taught me  a  very valuable  lesson.  The  lesson  is  summed  up  in  the phrase that mom would often say to her seven children: "the maid quit!"
   Mom would look at a mess that one of us made and then say to us: "The maid quit!" Mom taught us how to be responsible for all that we had been given. It was a responsibility that embraced not just cleaning up after ourselves, but also sharing the responsibility of being a family.
   Might this experience be a turning point in the life of our parish! Our Lord, in last Sunday’s readings, and through  the  leadership  of  Pope  Francis  and  our Archbishop, is calling me to say the same thing to you, my parish family, my sons and daughters: "The maid quit!"
   Fr. Mallon, in his book, "The Divine Renovation", did  a  marvelous  job  putting  to  words  the  silent agreement that exists between many parishioners and their parish priest. It sounds like this: a parishioner says to his priest "Father, gee, you’re a pretty good guy. And all this Church stuff, well, you really do a great job with it! Padre, keep up the good work! I’m going home now and will keep living my life like I have always lived it. I’ll see you next Sunday!
   When  St.  Peter  hears  this,  he  absolutely loses  it!  "Wait  just  a  second! What  in  the world have you done to the Gospel! Do the math: Fr. Peter + Fr. Michael = 2, divided by the 1,100 of you = .0018. The Son of God did not die on the Cross and rise from the dead so that .0018% of Gods people would take the Good News seriously and live their lives for Him!
   You, parishioners, you are a holy nation! You are a royal priesthood! Our Lord is calling upon you to respond to the Good News by living your lives for Him, by offering spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to Him, and by telling others about His praises!
   To further his point, St. Peter invited us to "come to Jesus!”. And so we next turned to the Gospel to listen attentively to the voice of our Savior.
   Jesus, once again, spoke with such love, power and compassion this past Sunday in His Gospel. He revealed how aware He is of that which is on our hearts.  He  spoke  words  of  such  comfort  as  He proclaimed: “don’t let your hearts be troubled!” Jesus reassured us that He is going to ascend to the right hand  of  our  Father  to  prepare  a  place  for  us.  He promised that when our place was ready in heaven, He would come back to get us! What meaning Jesus gives to our lives and even to our death! He taught us that the only way to get home is to live our lives for Him, to embrace Him as our Way, our Truth, and our Life.
   Jesus keeps asking us to invite Him and welcome Him into our daily lives! When we share our daily lives with Him, invite Him to be a part of our relationships, our work, our finances, our leisure, etc., He shows us what love looks like in all those situations. He calls us to live holy lives, to follow His example!
   Jesus is our Truth and our Life! He has warned us not to listen to the voice of the stranger: our one true enemy who is a thief and liar who seeks only to steal, kill and destroy. When we turn to Jesus frequently each day and share the movements of our heart with Him, He speaks Words of Truth over our lives and those  situations.  These  words  of  Jesus  lead  us  to abundant life!
   Let’s remember to keep each other in prayer this week.
In Jesus and Mary,
Fr. Michael