Message from the Pastor
Gathering the Sheep

July 16, 2017
 

My dear parishioners,

I love to plant trees, any tree, big and small, fruit-bearing or not. In any parish I was assigned to, I always make it a point to plant a tree or a shrub. Here in Dededo I planted two calamansi trees and a guyabano tree. The former still have to bear fruit, while the latter has already three ripening fruits. Watching the trees grow and bear fruit fascinates me and fills me with joy. This is the reason why I love to plant—knowing that you have “created” something out of a seed and soil simply overwhelms me; it makes me feel closer to God. I feel as if I was sharing in His creative power. Planting a tree is also my small way of showing gratitude to a munificent Mother Nature and of sustaining the environment.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, the parable of the sower, our Lord Jesus Christ narrates that the Word of God is the seed sown and we are the ground that received it. The seed is meant to grow and bear fruit. But it needs a RICH ground, otherwise it will JUST wither and die. We have to provide that soil, we have to become fertile seedbeds of the Word of God.

The parable talks about four different kinds of soil: the worst, the bad, the not so bad, and the good and fertile soil. Every time we hear this Gospel we always wish that we are the good soil but most of the time we are one of the three bad soils. We welcome the seed, we try to make it grow and bear fruit but we realize we were not fertile enough. We hear God’s Word, we welcome it with joyful hearts, we try our best to live God’s commands, but we just cannot sustain its growth. This should not be a reason for us to give up or lose hope because, with the help of God’s grace, we can surely make ourselves rich soils. Openness to the Holy Spirit, obedience to God’s will, simplicity and humility, and an active prayer life—these can transform a barren, unproductive soil into the most fertile and fruitful one.

The rich soil in the Gospel produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Amazing yet true. If only you will allow the Word of God to take root and grow in your life, you will be surprised at how much goodness you are capable of.

PARISH CCD and LIFETEEN PROGRAM

Let me take this opportunity to appeal for support for our CCD and Life Teen Programs. CCD is our catechetical program for children. Our parish needs additional CCD teachers and aides. Be a good steward of the time and talent God has given you. Help teach and guide our children in the Catholic Faith. Please volunteer. Call the parish office at 632-5659 if you are interested.

LIFE TEEN is our parish program for the youth. I invite all youth, 14—25 years old, to join Life Teen and experience the wonderful life with Jesus Christ. Come to our Sunday 5PM Youth Mass and celebrate with us. Be part of the Core group. Kindly call the parish office if you hear a calling to be a part of this.

God bless you all and may we have a safe and happy celebration of Liberation Day. Fr. Dan


Fr. Dan C. Bien
Pastor
Sta. Barbara Parish
Dededo, Guam