I am not a big fan of soccer, but once in a while I watch a game with some friends. One of the things that really captures my attention is to see my friends trying to direct the game from their comfortable seats. Sometimes they get so passionate that even though get upset, they are not aware of what they are telling the screen. It seems as if they know the best way to move the ball and score. I guess it happens in all ball games. It seems so simple and easy for people watching the game to give directions, but would it be easy for them to do it if they were in the field?
Today in the gospel we see how Jesus is telling people to listen to the Jewish authorities, but not to follow their example. They have the knowledge of the law to direct people in the right path, but they do not follow their own advice, “for they preach but they do not practice.” These words really get to me because of my ministry. Like my friends, when they watch a soccer game, it is not that difficult to tell people how to live, blameless before God, but it is a real challenge for me to show it with my example of life. It is certainly not the same to tell people how to live the gospel than to show it with my way of life.
Before I was ordained as a priest, I was really thinking about the title people were going to be using to address me for the rest of my life: “father.” We use that title because as Catholics, we see in a priest this fatherly figure that is guiding us in God’s path, a spiritual father. I was wondering, as a seminarian, if I was going to be able to fill those shoes. It is a great responsibility because we are committed to show how to live as true Disciples of Christ. When we preside over the sacraments, we act in persona Christi, in the person of Christ. So certainly, as spiritual fathers, we have more responsibility to live the gospel, to be servants of all, and to live what we preach.
I ask for forgiveness for the times I have failed to live the gospel, for the moments in which my actions do not agree with my ministry. I really have the desire and the intention to live as a disciple of Jesus, when I am presiding the sacraments, when I am in a meeting or in a conversation with someone, even when I am by myself. Pray for me so that, though I am not worthy to be your spiritual father, with the grace of God and my effort, I can be an instrument of God to show you with word and deed, the way of the Lord.
Our Associate Pastor
Talking about fathers, a week ago, Fr. Cristian Cuevas called me from Santiago, Chile, to notify me that the American Embassy has approved his visa. He will get his passport with the visa this week, and hopefully, in a couple more days he will be with us. Next week we will publish a biography of Fr. Cristian, so you will know more about him and help him to feel at home. It is a great challenge to move to a different country, facing a new culture and language. Please assist him in his transition that he may use his gifts and abilities for the good of our faith community.
A welcoming rite
In the next two weeks we will publish some articles about the Rite of Peace that we use during mass, the meaning and purpose, and how we are going to practice it properly. We will also do something else that will hopefully help us to be more like a family. Stay tune!