This Sunday we begin to read the Gospel passages from Ordinary Time once again. Today’s Gospel presents us with a scene to reflect on our following of Jesus and our behavior in the face of challenges. James and John had not yet learned the message of love and forgiveness; faced with the difficulties during their mission they ask: “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven and consume them?” (Lk 9,54). To follow Jesus Christ and fulfill our mission, we must do so free from all ties and without any fear, follow Him without complexes and without ties, like the rest who wanted to follow Him: “No one who (…) looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God” (Lk 9:62). Saint John Paul II, speaking on this topic, affirmed for one of the missionary journeys that “only the love of God is capable of uniting men of all races and cultures, and will be able to make the painful divisions, the ideological contrasts, the economic inequalities and the violent abuses that still oppress humanity. Through evangelization, believers help men to recognize each other as brothers”. Therefore, it is necessary to follow Him out of love to proclaim His kingdom of love among us.
Two years ago, Bishop Burbidge appointed me as your pastor; I am very grateful for the support received. This has been the biggest challenge I have received and despite the situations experienced, I believe that we have made history. Since I arrived, I have tried to do my best and give my best. I have tried to respond to your requests and guide you as far as I could. As any human, I have made mistakes and perhaps I have not met your expectations, but it has not been for lack of will. A pastor is made with the help and support of his sheep, with whom he makes a team to make way. Thank you all for your support and for not leaving me alone. I wish with all my heart to continue developing our parish and to continue building the kingdom of God. There is still much to do, so please help me, do not leave me alone in this task because we are a community of faith that grows in communion. In my daily prayers I ask for wisdom to not fail you, but many times I have to make decisions that make me uncomfortable and that’s where I ask for your understanding, because sometimes it doesn’t just depend on me. I thank God for being your pastor, for your understanding and your affection.
This is the last Sunday Father Rampino will be among us. I am very grateful for his support these past two years, it was a privilege to work with him, as a brother and as a friend. His support and understanding were vital because it was not an easy task transferring to a parish two years ago, but we did it. Now Father Rampino has to once again put in practice his obedience and continue to develop the kingdom of God in another parish. Thank you Father Joe for your wisdom, prudence and understanding towards me and also towards the parishioners. Good luck Father Joe in your new misión and remember that here you will always have friends who love you.
Also, next Sunday, July 3rd, we have our monthly Sunday Social, there we will welcome our new parochial vicar Father Paul Berghout. I invite you all to stop by Hannan Hall and introduce yourself and make him feel welcome in his new home. I confess that, as a priest, when you arrive at a new parish it is always difficult to start and the words of the parishioners always encourage and give joy. Welcome Father Paul, I know we will make a great team in this parish.
I have you in my prayers,