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May 7, 2023 - Pastor Message

June 12, 2024

THE YEAR OF MISSION

THE YEAR OF MISSION

“What is Apollos, after all, and what is Paul? Ministers through whom you became believers, just as the Lord assigned each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters are equal, and each will receive wages in proportion to his labor. For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field” (1 Corinthians 3:5-9).

Continuing our reflection on our parish mission statement, we consider this week our mission to not only plant the seeds of God’s saving love in the hearts and minds of our neighbors and beyond but to nourish the seeds we have planted. Like the gracious sower who scatters seed everywhere, regardless of where it falls (Luke 8:5-8), we too are called to sow the seeds of God’s love and grace among all people. Unlike the heedless sower, though, we are also called to be generous gardeners who tend the seeds once they are planted, watering and fertilizing them to promote their growth (Luke 13:6-9). Sowing the seeds of God’s love is only the first step in the much larger mission of bringing the seeds to full growth and producing the bountiful harvest of passionate disciples of our vision statement.

So how do we nurture the seeds of grace? We employ many of the same actions we do to sow them but with a different focus. We proclaim God’s Word but with a new focus, moving beyond the initial proclamation of the gospel toward growing in our understanding of the Word through faith formation and studying Scripture and the teachings of the Church. We pray and celebrate the sacraments but with a new focus, not just on introducing people to the spiritual life, but on growing in the spiritual life through ongoing conversion and fuller and more active participation in the sacraments. We live the gospel through Christian action but with a new focus on expanding our efforts beyond occasional activities to committing our entire lives to loving and serving others in Christ’s name..

By nurturing the seeds of God’s love in our own hearts and minds in these ways and more, we can then invite those we have introduced to Christ or whose life of faith is just sprouting through the soil to do the same. We see a beautiful example of such nurturing this weekend with our celebration of First Holy Communion. Parents, who introduced their children to Christ through baptism, have worked with our catechists and other members of the faith community the past few years to grow the seeds of grace they planted in their children’s hearts and minds that day through prayer, the sacrament of Reconciliation, and faith formation. They now bring them to the altar of God to take the next big step in their life of faith, to celebrate and receive Christ in the Eucharist within the loving arms of Christ’s Body, the Church. Faithful and regular celebration of the Eucharist will nourish them, like spiritual fertilizer, as they continue to grow toward their reception of a full share of the Holy Spirit, the water of life, in the sacrament of Confirmation. As fully initiated and mature members of the Church, they will then be sent out to the world to continue Christ’s mission by sowing and nurturing the seeds of grace in other people’s hearts and minds, beginning the cycle all over again. Thus, by carrying out our mission in union with Christ and one another, our vision is slowly realized until our bountiful harvest of souls is gathered at the end of time into God’s glory (Revelation 14:14-16).

Fr. Marc Stockton

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