13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The parting words of Jesus to his followers before He ascended into heaven (His 'final words', if you will) were: "Go and make disciples of all nations." Jesus called all of his followers to go on mission and bring others back to the Father. Too often, however, we have forgotten that mission, as a Church and as individuals, and we find ourselves simply going through the motions, stuck in a maintenance mode that is not the energetic, grace-filled, difficult yet joyous life that Jesus lived and called His followers to. We at St. Joseph and St. Ann will be embarking on a journey over the next number of years to reclaim the vibrant life that Jesus calls us to live in our parishes. Step #1: Christ-Centered Relationships. The first followers of Jesus lived in close relationship with each other centered on Christ; there was a true community grounded in deep faith and they encouraged and challenged each other on. If we want our parishes to have a vibrant life and faith, we need to reclaim first the importance of Christ-Centered relationships! Because if we can't confidently talk about and learn about our faith with each other, how on earth are we ever going to share it with someone who doesn't yet believe?!
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
When we look at everything around us, we see that God has a way of taking something small and making it BIG! Whether the shoot from the tree in our first reading, or the mustard seed in our Gospel, God often takes small things and slowly grows them until they are BIG! He does that in our lives in so many ways, but I believe that the Lord is calling our parishes of St. Ann and St. Joseph here and now to start small in developing relationships with others who believe in and follow Jesus Christ, especially other Catholics, and especially our fellow parishioners. So the challenge for this summer - get to know 6 more people from Church by the end of summer! Invite them out for breakfast, lunch, dinner after Mass; invite them over for a beer on the deck or a pontoon ride; get to know them personally. And when we start with these small but powerful and meaningful efforts, God will grow us over time here at St. Ann and St. Joseph into something BIG!