Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends and Parishioners of Saint Jerome,

Pax Christi semper vobiscum!

Our Novena in Honor of Saint Jerome begins next week. We will incorporate the Novena Prayers during the Mass after Holy Communion. We shall also include an excerpt from Saint Jerome’s writings for our reflection after the Communion prayer. All the weekday Masses will be bilingual. Our staff will live-stream our celebrations for those who are unable to attend, due to their possible coronavirus vulnerability.

I would like to thank our families who volunteered to host this weekend’s Food Sale. I am aware that putting together an event like this takes a lot of coordination. Our patronage is the best way to show them our appreciation. Please know that our families have been properly instructed according to the safety guidelines for food distribution. We are all aware that our Food Sales help our parish raise the difference of our weekend collections. Like any household, bills do not stop coming. Yes, the pandemic put us off from our regular parish income, and so has made our economic situation more challenging.

Our bell tower needs ongoing repair. Our church roof needs repair. Our rectory building needs repair. These are major areas of concern in our building maintenance. Winter is coming soon, and we want to make sure that our buildings are safe and secure. We are currently in the process of looking for bids on different projects. I will keep you posted regarding these matters. If masonry and tuckpointing is your area of expertise, please let me know – I need your help.

In what way so far have we experienced God’s goodness and generosity? While we are amid the world’s crises of social and political unrest, pandemic, economic instability, and educational challenges – where have we seen God involved in our lives? Our first reading this weekend challenges us and calls upon our consciousness to seek the Lord in all our life events. Many, however, are frustrated and losing hope. Others are confused and unable to find the meaning of their existence. Some are also emotionally and psychologically disintegrated due to the weight of loneliness and feeling of desertion. Just in the last two weeks, I learned that one of our parishioners jumped out of a window and committed suicide. There was also a student from one of our Catholic schools who attempted suicide in front of the class. You have probably heard on the news about other devastating circumstances that left you wondering – Why?

I think that this is a critical moment for us to return to the very core of our Catholic faith. We ought to seek God within our hearts. Sometimes seeking God on our own is difficult. We need a companion. We need a guide. We need someone who can inspire us and motivate us to keep moving forward whenever we feel stuck amid confusion. This is the reason why we need the Church and Her Sacraments so that we will not feel abandoned and neglected while we struggle each day from the bombarding voices of socialism, materialism, demoralization of human values, and the indifference of many. The prophet Isaiah said,

“Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near.”

Is 55:6

So, we ask the question once again. How has God been involved in my life during the last few months while the entire world is in crisis? In what way did God deliver me and the people whom I love from the danger of death and other difficulties? Have I responded well with reverence and gratitude for all that He has bestowed on me?

God’s generosity is unfathomable. His mercy is infinite. God’s goodness is overflowing. However, we can only experience His mercy when we recognize our brokenness. It is in those little openings of our broken self that His grace can penetrate our entire being. I am not promoting the idea of inflicting ourselves with a sense of brokenness for its own sake. What I am saying is rather an invitation for us to be mindful of our spiritual state that is touched by original sin and our own personal sins which calls for healing and restoration. Finding God’s mercy restores our freedom, brings us courage, and makes us able to love unconditionally in the manner that God loves us.

Continue to seek the Lord. He is never far. He remains with us and journeys with us. As our Psalm response says this weekend,

“The Lord is near to all who call upon him.”

Sincerely in Christ and Mary,