Strength in Community Through Christ

As we embark on our mission this year of re-evangelization, we mean to remind ourselves again of the gospel message we received when we first believed, and to rekindle the fire, our passion, for the Word of God, remaining open to the Holy Spirit who alone can renew us in strength and zeal to carry on. One of our goals is to reachout to our brothers and sisters who no longer participate actively in community worship and Parish Life. The following story written by an anonymous explains why this re-invitation to renewal is important.

“A certain pastor in a country parish heard that one of his parishioners was going about announcing that he would no longer attend church services.  His rebellious parishioner was advancing the familiar argument that he could communicate just as easily with God out in the fields with the natural setting as his place of worship.

One winter evening, the pastor called on this reluctant member of his flock for a friendly visit.  The two men sat before the fireplace making small talk, but studiously avoiding the issue of church attendance.  After some time, the pastor took the tongs from the rack next to the fireplace, and pulled a single coal from the fire.  He placed the glowing ember on the hearth.

The two men watched as the coal quickly ceased burning and turned an ashen gray, while the other coals in the fire continued to burn brightly.  The pastor remained silent.  “I’ll be at services next Sunday,” said the parishioner.” (By Anonymous, ref. below).

We burn brightly by the fire of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and souls.  God has blessed each of us with many gifts, given by the Holy Spirit in accord with the holy will of God.  Our many gifts are meant to be shared with and used for the good of each other.  We are designed to be a family, a mystical body, and all members in community with each other.  We keep both the “spirit” and all the gifts alive in each other, when we are in community.

When we withdraw from the community, from the family, we “cool off”, like the glowing ember in the story.  Our gifts cool off.  Our contribution to community life cools off.  Our spirit cools off. The community will still continue to burn brightly without us, but it’s never the same, and always less when a member is missing.

Here in St. Luke’s Parish, our desire and efforts to re-invite some of our family to active participation is meant to counteract withdrawal and “cooling off”.  This Year, may our fires stay hot and our lights burn brightly as we continue to pray for and connect with our friends and loved ones who have pulled away.  We love them and we want them to come home.

By Deacon Paul Clement

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