Message from the Pastor
Gathering the Sheep
“A CALL TO REPENTANCE IS A CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP”
JANUARY 21, 2018
My dear parishioners,
The prophet Jonah, of the famous whale story, warned the people of Nineveh that if they do not repent and change their ways God will destroy their city. The people of Nineveh responded with ur-gency and they all “turned from their evil ways.” When God saw this he relented and did not punish them. Crucial to their salvation was their urgent response to God’s warning. They were given only forty days to repent or else destruction will come to the city and its people. Nineveh would have been totally destroyed had they ignored the warning or took their time in changing their ways.
In the Gospel, Jesus announced with a sense of urgency: “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Brothers Peter and Andrew, and James and John, all fishermen, responded immediately. They did not waste any time. They abandoned everything and followed Jesus. They were saved, and then they became messengers of salvation themselves.
We are all called to be disciples of Jesus. But before we can respond to that call of discipleship, we need to answer first the call to repentance. An unchanged life is a heavy obstacle to a full and total relationship with Jesus. First, repentance, then dis-cipleship.
Let us never forget that our salvation is an urgent and serious business. We have been sufficiently advised and warned. We should never tarry in changing our ways. Like the people of Nineveh and the first disciples of Jesus, we should respond with a sense of urgency.
As I write this, our parish is anticipating the visit of the International Pilgrim Image of Our Lady of Fatima on Saturday, January 20, 2018. The message given by the Blessed Virgin Mary to the three children one hundred years ago in Fatima still rings true up to this day and time: Penance and Repentance, Devotion to the Ro-sary and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and Prayer for the conversion of sin-ners and of the whole world.
Let me anticipate my gratitude to the families and parish organizations who will come and pray during the overnight vigil. I pray that God through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima will bless you always.
It might interest you to know that last year, 2017, our parish had 236 children bap-tized. The Catholic Church continues to grow because parents choose to have their children baptized in the Catholic Faith. We pray that these parents and godparents continue to teach and guide their children. There were also 106 children who re-ceived their First Holy Communion and 99 teens who were confirmed. We pray that parents continue to bring their children to CCD so that they will learn more about God and how to live the Catholic Faith. There were also 17 couples who received the Sacrament of Matrimony. We pray that those living together but are not married in Church may finally decide to receive the Sacrament. Lastly, our par-ish had 90 funerals last year. We pray that God may grant eternal rest to all the de-ceased members of our parish.
God bless you all!
Fr. Dan C. Bien
Sta. Barbara Parish