21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
What a wonderful festival we had last weekend at the Birmingham Ethnic Festival! I want to thank all the organizers, volunteers and all those who worked behind the scenes to make it a success. There were so many groups of volunteers: the cooks and bakers, those who served our meals and sold baked goods, the Knights of Columbus who ran the parking lot and drove the carts, the new church tour group, the St. Stephen decorating team and all who loaned the heirlooms to be displayed, the financial team, the clean-up crews, and the many more who worked behind the scenes! I appreciate the countless hours you all dedicated to this festival, our parish, and the wider community.
As summer continues to wind down some may find themselves in new situations. Our children certainly will, with new teachers, new schools and those who graduated from High School find themselves off to college, the military or off to the work force, all carrying a certain level of excitement, uncertainty and stress. Our catechists are busy preparing for a new year of Religious Education. Through it all, remember God and pray. Ask for his help to guide you and be with you on your new journey. Your parish family will be praying for you as well.
In the Gospel today, Jesus is asked, “Will only a few be saved?” We attend Mass regularly, feed the poor, pray daily, so we think we have it made, but we are not so sure about other people. The images Jesus uses of the narrow gate and the locked door give us pause. We should never count the things we do and say it is enough, enough to get through the narrow gate. Our lifestyle should be Christ-like at all times, not taking our salvation for granted. Jesus answers the question more fully in the next verses, “Everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.” How can you be more generous in living your faith every day?
We currently have many parishioners in the hospital or having surgeries. Please keep them in your prayers for healing and recovery. Remember to call the parish office if you or your loved one is in the hospital, having surgery, or moving into a rehab center, or nursing facility. Fr. Melwin and I want to visit, and anoint, and we also have communion brought weekly to hospitals and nursing facilities. We just need to know where someone is, so please call the parish office and keep us updated.
Next weekend, Deacon Leon and Ruth Holmer will be celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary. We wish them a joyous day and many more years of good health and happiness.
It is a joy for me to serve the Epiphany community as your Pastor!
Fr. Gilbert Mascarenhas SAC