Holy Cross Catholic Church

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16th Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 18, 2021

Dear Friends,

In today’s busy world and culture, there is a considerable risk for everyone to live in endless tension. Peace and solace can be just but illusion and unattainable goals. Concerns for how to make this or that can steal concentration and peace from our life. Today’s gospel reading comes to remind us that there always should be a time to spend in the desert with Christ. A time spent in the desert here is to be positively understood as a time of refreshment and rebuilding, both our body and spirit. An exhausted spirit and tired body cannot give the best of themselves.

Today’s gospel brings to mind the image I always share with you about our body as a car whose engine is the soul. Like a car that cannot go places without gasoline, a Christian with empty soul cannot bear fruits pleasing to God. And again, like a car that burns gasoline as it goes places, we also burn the graces we receive from Christ whenever we engage in the work of evangelization and as we strive to courageously live the  gospel. Consequently, we experience the need to replenish our spiritual tanks in order to be able to continue to bear witness. This is exactly what Christ does with his disciples in today’s gospel. He gathers them and all of us around Him to teach them and to feed them with new energy.

Like the Apostles, we are commissioned to go, to teach and to bear fruits. Sometimes, we can be extremely involved in matters pertaining to the world and the challenges they raise in life that we forget or miss the opportunity to go back to the Lord and be refreshed. We finally live in the motion rather than under the guidance of the Spirit. We can easily be misled by the busy world and the anxiety it creates within us. We can even plunge into despair and hopelessness, especially when we are face with our powerlessness in front of difficult situations. Christ invitation to all of today is that we may take it easy and find solace with Him. It is with and in Him that we will be renewed and given new energy that enables us to face the world and its challenges with courage, trust and faith.

Time and again, we are tempted to rely on ourselves in the face of the many challenges we face in our lives. When He sees us in our struggles coming to Him, Christ’s heart is always moved with pity. Because in our powerlessness, we are like the sheep without shepherd. He calls us to Him, He the Good Shepherd, to tend us and feed us with new energy and strength. Let us therefore follow Him as He calls us to “come away to a deserted place to take rest.” Resting in Him and abandoning ourselves to His love and mercy. Resting in Him is to surrender to His will that always seeks to save us and to give us the best to respond to our needs. Resting in Him is indeed, sitting at His side and listening to Him as He teaches us and consoles us in our despair and pain, as we face the challenges of misunderstanding, illness, deception, denial,  and even rebuke from our own family relatives, those we trusted and everything that surrounds. It is only in Christ and with Christ that we can find true solace. When we open our ears and hearts to Him, we will hear his call saying, “Come to me for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest.”

Relying on the care and providence of Christ, let us continue to pray for one another and for our parish family.

Fr. Emery


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