Pastor's Corner

My dear Parishioners,

It is good news to know that by the power of the Sacrament of Baptism we have received, Jesus commissions each one of us to
“go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” This is the
reason why God continuously gives us opportunities to serve Him and our neighbors as His disciples.

The 5 characteristics of a disciple are: [1] A disciple BELIEVES in Jesus Christ, and the Father, and the Holy Spirit. [2] A disciple
GROWS in imitation of Christ Jesus the Lord. [3] A disciple GATHERS as a Christian community. [4] A disciple LOVES as Jesus
loves. [5] And a disciple LEADS others to Jesus.

These characteristics of a disciple are experienced whenever we come to the Saturday Vigil or Sunday Masses. We come with the
belief that Christ has suffered and died on the cross for us on Good Friday and on the third day, Sunday, Jesus rose from the dead
and brought newness of life to us and initiated a new creation. In the celebration of the Mass, God gives us many graces to help us
grow in our knowledge and love of God so that we can serve others like Christ. We come to Mass to gather as a community of
faith partaking in the highest form of prayer, that perfect sacrifice of Jesus and in which we are nourished by His own Body and
Blood as a source of eternal life. The sacrifice of the Mass demonstrates God’s ultimate expression of love for us by the fact that
Jesus died for us, so that we too may love our neighbor as He loved us. And because we learned more of Jesus and have grown
to know Him as our Lord and Savior. We hear during the conclusion of the Mass Jesus sending us forth as His disciples to lead
others closer to Him, by fulfilling what we are commanded to do when the priest or deacon says, “Go and announce the Gospel of
the Lord”, or “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life” 

Now, I would like to invite you to reflect on this article about “The Church as the assembly of the people of God,” taken from a
catechetical instruction by Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, bishop in the year 350 AD.

The Church is called Catholic or universal because it has spread throughout the entire world, from one end of the earth to the other.
Again, it is called Catholic because it teaches fully and unfailingly all the doctrines which ought to be brought to men’s knowledge,
whether concerned with visible or invisible things, with the realities of heaven or the things of earth. Another reason for the name
Catholic is that the Church brings under religious obedience all classes of men, rulers and subjects, learned and unlettered. Finally,
it deserves the title Catholic because it heals and cures unrestrictedly every type of sin that can be committed in soul or in body,
and because it possesses within itself every kind of virtue that can be named, whether exercised in actions or in words or in some
kind of spiritual charism.

It is most aptly called a church, which means an “assembly of those called out,” because it “calls out” all men and gathers them
together, just as the Lord says in Leviticus: Assemble all the congregation at the door of the tent of meeting. It is worth noting also
that the word “assemble” is used for the first time in the Scriptures at this moment when the Lord appoints Aaron high priest.
So in Deuteronomy God says to Moses: Assemble the people before me and let them hear my words, so that they may learn to
fear me. There is a further mention of the assembly in the passage about the tablets of the Law: And on them were written all the
words which the Lord had spoken to you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire, on the day of the assembly; it is as though he
had said, even more clearly, “on the day when you were called out by God and gathered together.” So too the psalmist says:
I will give thanks to you in the great assembly, O Lord; in the mighty throng I will praise you.

Long ago the psalmist sang: Bless God in the assembly; bless the Lord, you who are Israel’s sons. But now the Savior has built a
second holy assembly, our Christian Church, from the Gentiles. It was of this that he spoke to Peter: On this rock I will build my
Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.

Now that the single church which was in Judea has been rejected, the churches of Christ are already multiplying throughout the
world, and of them it is said in the psalms: Sing a new song to the Lord, let his praise be sung in the assembly of the saints. Taking
up the same theme the prophet says to the Jews: I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts; and immediately he adds:
For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is glorified among the nations. Of this holy Catholic Church Paul writes to
Timothy: That you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar
and bulwark of the truth.

Yes, indeed, we are a chosen race, a holy nation, a people God has claimed as his own. Let us then proclaim the marvelous works
of God who has called us out of darkness into His own wonderful light.

Fr. Riz