From the Pastor – May 3, 2009

As I mentioned in the bulletin and during Mass over the last two weeks, this Sunday is our parish “Ministry Fair.” It’s a chance to see the different ways that the members of Good Shepherd Parish serve the Church and each other. And it’s a chance to find some way to get involved in the mission of Jesus Christ.

In the documents of the Second Vatican Council, there were tremendous exhortations for the lay faithful to actively participate in the life of the Church.  This participation begins in the Sacred Liturgy, where we actively seek to encounter Jesus Christ in Word and Sacrament. That doesn’t mean we all need a “job” during Mass; it means that we are attentive and reflective when we hear the readings, and that we prepare ourselves devoutly to receive Holy Communion, and that we do not neglect to make a prayer of thanksgiving afterwards. We find our “mission” in the Church in our personal encounter with Christ. Just like the first followers of Christ, we learn from Him and we go forth joyfully to spread that Good News to others. In fact, that’s the origin of the word “Mass.” The Latin dismissal “Ite, missa est” can be translated “The Mass is ended, go in peace,” but it might be more appropriately translated “Go forth! It is the mission!”

What is the mission? Primarily, it is to announce to the world that we have a savior, Jesus Christ, who never left us and who constantly draws us into a personal relationship with Himself. But another part of the mission is to participate in works that spread faith, hope and charity to those who feel separated from God’s love. At this week’s ministry fair, I hope that you might consider “how you can repay the Lord for His goodness to you,” as it says in Psalm 116. Reflect on the charge that the Church has given to you in the excerpt from Apostolicam Actuositatem (“On the Apostolate of the Laity”) as printed in the bulletin and on the website. The first joy of Gospel comes from hearing God’s word and taking it into your heart. But as the Apostle John tells us, our joy is made complete when we share it with others. (1 Jn 1:4).

Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty