The Pastor's Column


Fr. Lara's Lines


Fifth Sunday of Easter

Love One Another
One of the most famous statements of Jesus is the new commandment: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” This commandment speaks of God’s love for us and the love we are to have for our neighbor. Jesus asks us to love the same way God loves. Certainly, it is not easy to love the same way God loves us. For some, it might seem impossible, but the saints all throughout history have shown us differently. God so loved the world and we are to do the same.

God’s love is unconditional, selfless, and steadfast. God created everything out of love. He did not need to create anything or anyone, but out of unconditional love, he wills everything to exist. God’s love is unconditional because it is freely given. He wants us to follow his commandments not for his own benefit but for ours. God’s love is selfless because he gives everything to us. He gave his only begotten Son; and Jesus gave his own life for the sake of humankind. Jesus’ greatest expression of selfless love is his death on the cross for our sins. God’s love is steadfast because God will love us no matter what. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven, except the sin which lacks repentence. In the sacrament of confession, God shows unwavering love for us. He never abandons us but always keeps his promise.

As followers of Jesus, we are to imitate God’s love for us. It is easy to love God because he loves us perfectly; however, loving others the same way God loves us is not an easy task. How can we love those whom we do not know? How can we love those who have offended us? How could we love our enemies? We face the temptation to pay back in the same coin. People retaliate against others for the wrongdoings they have gone through. But Jesus calls us to love one another. We need to remember that love is not a feeling but an act of will. Love is to wish good for the other. When Jesus told us to love one another, he meant to do good to one another. What are some concrete ways you can love others? Do you love in unconditional, selfless, and steadfast ways?

School May Crowning
During the month of May, Catholics around the world honor Mary in a special way. May reminds us of new life which we see in the flowers and trees coming back to life after a long winter season. We honor Mary because she brings new and eternal life through her son, Jesus. A couple weeks ago, on May 1, we crowned Mary after the 11:00 am Mass. Last Tuesday, the school children celebrated May Crowning as well. They had a beautiful service in the Church. Second graders have now made their First Communion and eighth graders are looking forward to their graduation. We are in the home stretch before the end of the school year. Let us keep our students in our thoughts and prayers.

Healing Mass
The sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is one of healing. This sacrament is not only for those who are at the point of death; it is also for those who are suffering, the elderly, and the infirm. The Church brings the healing power of Christ to the souls of those who need it. The sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick brings peace and strength to the suffering. The oil of the sick is a visible sign of the healing touch of Jesus and the prayers for the sick bring the Church’s strength to sustain them in their suffering.

Priests often visit sick and injured people at hospitals, nursing homes, and in their homes. There is a great need to mister to the sick and suffering. Many times, they struggle to know and feel God’s presence in their lives. Through the Church, Jesus brings peace, mercy, and love to them. Priests are not the only ministers to the sick; all Catholics are. For instance, Ministers of Care pray with, bring communion to, and give comfort to the sick. All of us have the responsibility to pray for the sick and injured. The Ministry of Care at SCL has organized a Healing Mass next Sunday, May 22 at the 11:00am Mass. At this Mass, some parishioners will receive the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. God’s love and healing mercy will come into their lives even in the midst of their suffering and pain. Let us keep praying for the sick, especially those in our parish community.


Peace
Fr. Lara

Live the Liturgy
The resurrected Christ gives us the strength to do things we can never have imagined. Life will often give us mountains to climb, and we wonder how we will find the energy, ability, and determination to forge ahead. But, with a good dosage of faith and a fervent life of prayer we find ourselves succeeding and ascending to heights that once frightened us. What we realize after we have reached the other side is that this hardship we once saw as an obstacle has become a vehicle for something better and greater. We are stronger. The same is true with the Gospel. The prospect of loving one another may seem idealistic or unobtainable. Yet, when we risk moving beyond just looking out for or helping each other to actually LOVING each other, miracles happen. There is something wonderful that occurs with love. We see people in ways we never saw before, understanding and appreciating each other’s journey. Love leads to reverence. Faith is strengthened and we move on to try again.

Please Pray for Ukraine

For our sisters and brothers involved in or affected by the war and devastation in Ukraine-- the deceased, the injured, the frightened, the displaced, the fighters, the protesters, the leaders. May God give them solace, healing, comfort, and hearts and minds directed toward peace.
Donations can be made here:

Knights of Columbus: https://www.kofc.org/secure/en/donate/ukraine.html

Caritas: https://www.caritas.org/

Ukrainian Catholic Archdiocese of Philidelphia: https://ukrarcheparchy.us

"May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war" - Pope Francis