"My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me" (Jn 10:27). Hearing and doing God's will as revealed to us in His Word was the central message of last week's daily masses liturgy of the word. Hearing carefully and acting on God's words is fundamental to our Christian faith. We ought to strive always to know the Father's will for us, be humbly docile to it, and, relying on his grace, observe his directives. It is one thing to know what the plan of God for us is, and it is another thing to assent to His will.
Do we always obey the Father's will? Do we say "yes" to God and take actions that convey our agreement to his instructions? Acting on our profession of faith is the test all of us must endeavor to pass. God's will must be followed on earth as it is in heaven by angels and saints. Hearing the voice of Jesus and following him is shown when we carry out fraternal acts of charity in church and community. That is what I call "yes" in action.
So often, our "yes'" to God's commandments and instructions on how to live our lives are demonstrated in what we do in and for our parish family. In this regard, I want to highlight some of the ways we, as a parish, have complied with the Father's will. On a positive and happy note, I have seen many of us in this parish act positively on our yes to God within the body of Christ. That does not mean we should be satisfied and rest on our oars. Instead, we must thank God for giving us the grace to respond to his summons. Also, we must strive to improve on them.
Talking about being thankful to God, I am thankful to God and you all for celebrating my twenty-third ordination to the Priesthood of Christ with me last week. Many of you not only joined in the celebration of mass but attended the first of the three-part series talk on the Holy Mass after mass last Saturday. I invite you to attend the third part on October 7, the feast of our Lady of the Rosary. I will summarize parts one and two so those who have missed them can understand my presentation. We will have food and fellowship.
October 4 is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the saint and day we associate with the love of nature and animals. I will not be in town to celebrate the feast day because I will be joining other priests of our diocese for our annual workshop in Maryland. However, so as not to miss that feast day's special blessings, I will bless pets at 2 p.m. today, October 1, in the parking lot of the Historic Church. Bring your pets for blessing through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi.
On Sunday, October 8, we, as a parish, will act on our faith and "yes" to this family of love by coming together for our yearly picnic. This festive form of fellowship is integral to saying yes to God and this family of faith. We must celebrate coming together to eat, drink, play, and build faith and friendship. We need more people to sign up to attend and volunteer to help make it a successful day.
Prayer request: First, I ask for your prayers for Nigeria, my home country, on our 63rd independence day- Nigerians will significantly benefit from your prayers. Second, please pray for the Synod in Rome from Oct. 4-28. The synod, listening to the Holy Spirit, is intended to advise Pope Francis on how to serve the Church of our time on her journey to heaven. We need sincere and solid prayers for the attendees to listen for and follow the voice of Jesus. Third, pray for us priests of the Diocese of Harrisburg to have a fruitful workshop and spiritually renewing time together.
In His Joy,
Fr. Alayode Bernard, OP