Sanctify Christ As Lord in Your Hearts
In the Gospel today Jesus says: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” One of the commandments Jesus gave to his disciples before his ascension into heaven was to go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The missionary work of the church is to carry the message of Jesus to all parts of the world. While it is vital that we support the work of the foreign missions, it is also vital that we have a missionary spirit. All of us are commanded by Jesus to teach all nations. If we love Jesus we will keep this commandment. We must participate in the missionary work of the church by sharing our faith right here in Sierra Madre.
Our 2nd reading this weekend begins with the words: “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” (1 Peter3:15). These are very special words to me as my 31th anniversary of priestly ordination approaches (actual date is June 10). Even before I became a priest, I desired to know Jesus Christ and to have His words, and His way dominate my choices and life style. As a priest these 31 years I have tried to stay close to Jesus, to grow in holiness and to lead others to Him. I have been called to minister in the inner city and in the desert, to the shut-in and the incarcerated, to the old and to the young. While I have never been completely successful in what I do, I am reminded of the words of Mother Teresa who said: “We are called to be faithful not successful.” While I pray for both, faithfulness is more important. Please pray for me that I can continue to serve God and His people faithfully.
I am grateful to God that I have persevered through these 31 years as a priest. They have been years of great growth, tremendous blessing and outstanding ministry. I have been privileged to journey with many wonderful people from the various parishes where I have served, as well as devoted priests. May we all be faithful to Jesus commandments, have a missionary spirit and always “Sanctify Christ as Lord in our Heart.” As we move toward giving our lives entirely over to Jesus, let us pray for more vocations and for one another. Peace.