Pastor's Pen, for The 5th Sunday

When I first became Pastor of St Anne’s Catholic Church in Jamaica, I think the people took a wait-and-see attitude.  They wondered who’s this priest from Foreign?  After some months, things changed.  In preparation for our Christmas celebrations, I decided we should paint the statue of Mary in our outside grotto.  She hadn’t been painted for years, and as she was outside, she was pretty dirty.  I decided that I would paint her myself some Saturday.  While painting, people would come over and as more and more gathered, they kept saying “no Father, we’ll paint her, don’t you.” I told them that I enjoyed the work and it was good for priests to sweat too.  That was the moment in which I was accepted into the community and accepted as Pastor.  They saw their priest not with angel wings, but with a paint brush, that is, as a regular person like them.  None of this was intended on my part, I simply wanted to paint Mary.

This Sunday Jesus describes us,  “You are the salt of the earth.”  He also adds that so too are we, “the light of the world.”  It seems to me that because it is hard to believe that we are the light of the world then it becomes hard to also believe that we are the salt of the earth.  And so we make ourselves into something other than what we are.  As children, when playing, we would often say, "let’s pretend" to be this or that.  As Catholic Christians, let’s stop pretending that we are being something or someone that we are not.  If we are the light of the world it means that God’s Revelation is meant to come through us.  But if we stop being something we truly are, what happens to God’s Revelation?  It must be curtailed or made more limited.  In the Second Reading, St Paul says, “I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom.  For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”  This means that it doesn’t matter how wise we sound.  This means that it doesn’t matter how elegant we look.  This means it does not matter what others say.  This means that all that matters is “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”  Much of the life that exists around us has lost its saltiness.  It gives faith more to appearances.  We must not forget who we are, “the light of the world.”  And we are the light not because of anything we have done.  But we are the light because God has created us in love, and has given his very self to show this love.  The love that we proclaim with the lives that we live must be the love of the Father.  In our fear or insecurity we play pretend and our pretending enslaves both ourselves and others.

 As Isaiah said, let us remove the yoke of enslavement from ourselves; let us stop pointing the finger and speaking evil; let us care for each other.  Then our “light shall rise in the darkness.”  The Psalmist writes, “The righteous person will never be moved.”  We will not be moved because we are coming to know in our hearts something of eternal and infinite value, that is, “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”  That while we are sinners, we are tenderly loved by God, and this knowledge makes us as the salt of the earth, and this truth makes us the light of the world.  So Church, go be who you are, the light of the world.

 God Bless and Take Care!

Parish Bulletin, for The 5th Sunday239.48 KB

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