Happy Thanksgiving! "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever." - Psalm 136:1
Happy Advent! Another reason to be grateful. “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. (Luke 2:11) For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2: 14)
We have so much to be thankful for! Yes, there is so much bad news arriving daily from around the world, but even in the midst of all this bad, we can give thanks to the Lord, for He is GOOD! Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. We have so much to be thankful for! So please join us on Thursday for a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Stephen at 9.30am and Christ the King at 9.00am.
No matter how difficult ministry may get, I can look at things that I am grateful for each day. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful to God for each of you! It is a joy and a privilege to be your brother in Christ and serve alongside of you in the cause of Christ. Together, may our service to the Lord "overflow in many thanksgivings to God" (2 Corinthians 9:12). As we celebrate thanksgiving, here are a few things I am thankful for as your pastor and brother.
· I get to share with everyone the story of God’s unconditional love in a world filled with so much negative news. His love is revealed in that He created us in his own image and likeness. I am honored to be a channel through which the grace of God, love of Christ, and comfort of the Holy Spirit can be made real to people.
· I get to experience God’s love every day. I feel loved, appreciated, needed, trusted, and admired-all a result of being an instrument which God has used in the spiritual progress of His people. I know you pray for me and care deeply about me. I owe a debt of gratitude to God for that.
· I get to meet and enjoy relationships with all kinds of people from all different ages, races, places, and walks of life.
· This year, I am keenly aware of the people who have touched our lives in ways that never seemed as important before the pandemic. I am thankful for the front-line medical professionals, police officers, firefighters, teachers, transit drivers, delivery people, grocery store employees and other essential workers who risked their health to make our lives easier.
· The pandemic caused me to rethink what it means to be grateful as a church. I am grateful for our dedicated staff, the many volunteers and the leadership teams that kept our communities vibrant and alive. Our parish communities continued to prosper thanks to the generosity of our parishioners.
· A positive piece of our ministry has been the grace of helping people stay in their homes during the pandemic through our St. Vincent de Paul ministry. We raised approximately 300 K to support the poor and the needy last year through SVDP.
· God uses my imperfect efforts to accomplish his perfect mission. When God looks at me, He does not focus on my sins and imperfections, rather He sees what I am capable of with His grace and love. I am investing my life in the only thing that will last forever.
· The reward of being a pastor far surpasses any frustration I will ever feel in ministry. And so I say with the apostle Paul, "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14).
What about you? What are you thankful for? The Thanksgiving holiday and the season of Advent give us a chance to start over; to begin the new Church year with a longing for God that leads to Bethlehem, to our own renewal in God’s love. So may God grant all of us the gift of his presence around the Thanksgiving table. And may God stay with us in the weeks ahead, as we ready ourselves for the birth of his son.