A Message from Father William

Saint James challenges us this Sunday to examine our relationship with God, to have a faith that is alive and not dead (James 2:14-18). Saint James was writing to Catholic Christians who went to Mass every Sunday and yet he still warns them against having a dead faith – telling them and us that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit calls us to not only believe in Him, but to know, love, serve and follow Him, and to love our neighbor, in our words and deeds, as Jesus Christ commanded us.

This teaching on faith is also depicted in this Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 8:27-35), as Saint Peter professes his faith in Jesus, calling Him the Christ – yet Peter’s faith falters when he hears Jesus explain that His mission as the Savior includes being rejected, suffering, dying and rising. Jesus then disciplines Peter for thinking as human beings do! Peter’s faith was alive, but it needed to increase so that he could follow Jesus Christ through His miracles and preaching, and to the Cross and the Resurrection. Jesus teaches Peter and us to live our faith in words and deeds, to take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23), for faith without works is a dead faith (James 2:17). Our faith in God should affect the way we live as His children. When we express our faith by our works (Matthew 25:31-46), we grow in love, faithfulness, wisdom, peace, patience, courage, and true Christian joy – fruits of a faith that is alive and growing (Galatians 5:22-23).

We live our faith and grow in it by: praying; reading Holy Scripture; keeping God’s Commandments (John 14:15-24); loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:34-40); going to God in the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and Confession, which we can go to as often as needed (for healing, forgiveness, conversion); participating in Jesus’ Mass with our parish family on the Lord’s Day (Saturday evening or Sunday morning), giving glory to God by worshipping, praising, thanking and loving Him through the prayers, Scriptures, gestures and hymns; examining our conscience daily, praying and asking the Holy Spirit to give us strength to live the gift of Faith.

Faith is a gift from God. Praying each day, may we continue by His grace to consciously be faithful, hopeful and loving instruments for Him, in word and deed, all for the greater glory of God. As witnesses to the Gospel, let us keep praying for: individuals and families to be rooted in prayer, communion with God, each day; all people to respect God’s gift of life, to participate in the 40 Days for Life campaign, September 22 to October 31 (VigilforLife.org; 40DaysforLife.com; 608-393-8545); peace in the world; all who died on September 11, 2001, and for their families; God’s protection for all who are serving in our U.S. armed forces, law enforcement, firefighting and emergency medical service, who risk their lives each day to ensure our peace, safety and liberties; help for over a half a million U.S. citizens experiencing homelessness, more than 37,000 of whom are U.S. military veterans (endhomelessness.org); proper help and vetting for the hundreds of thousands of refugees and legal and illegal immigrants – nearly 60% are men, 25% are children and 15% are women (pewresearch.org); healing, conversion, accountability and justice for all who are causing crises and division through their lies and evil agenda; a renewed commitment to reason, common sense and the restoration of Judeo-Christian ethics and morality that are foundational to the U.S.A., our Constitutional republic; all people to believe in, know, love, serve and joyfully follow Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead, the Only Savior of the world.

With prayers for an increase in faith, hope and love,
Fr. William