Homily – May 24, 2015

May 23rd, 2015

In our first reading Luke’s tells us what happened to the early Christian church on the Jewish feast day called Pentecost. Imagine being gathered together with fellow believers to praise and thank God in the breaking of the bread. All knew that Jesus had returned to his father. They were told they were to wait for another gift from God, the Holy Spirit who would keep fresh in their minds the things that Jesus said and did.

And suddenly we hear a sound as of a violent wind blowing, filling the whole house. People who lived through a tornado often describe it as the sound of a roaring train passing through. It must be frightening and confusing. You are at the mercy of the elements. Luke then tells of strange tongues of fire settling gently on all present and something deep within them happened. They were changed, transformed, emboldened. They came to see as never before who Jesus was and what his passion, death and resurrection were all about and they were driven out into the streets compelled to tell others all about Jesus the crucified, Jesus the risen one.

Each one of us received the Holy Spirit at our Baptism when through the pouring of water and the saying of the words, ‘I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ the Holy Spirit was poured into our very being giving each of us the boldness to call God “Father’. The gift of the Spirit was strengthened and renewed when we were anointed by the Bishop and given the gifts of the Spirit – wisdom, understanding, courage, reverence, right judgement, knowledge and wonder and awe. These gifts are meant to help live lives as faithful followers of Christ in the face of life styles and values that would have us live our lives as if God did not exist. The gifts wisdom and understanding sensitize us to wrongs that are so much a part of today’s society, today’s world; the intolerance and vindictiveness of religious fanatics who blow up mosques and churches and slaughter those who do not see God as they see God. The gifts of right judgement and knowledge help us recognize the sins against justice that affect the lives of men and women who struggle to raise a family on an unfair minimum wage or holding down two if not three part time jobs. The gifts of reverence, wonder and awe help us realize how misguided our present government’s denial and resistance to acknowledge the environmental and ecological crises the world community faces. The question for each one of is, are this gifts operative in the daily living of our lives? Do we support movements that call for justice for the poor or justice for planet Earth?

Do you feel or are you aware of the presence of the action of the Holy Spirit in your life? We might say that Pentecost was a pretty violent experience in the lives of the men and women who were there in that room behind locked doors. After their transforming experience of being seized by the Holy Spirit they burst out of that room, gifted with many tongues and proclaimed to all God’s deeds of power.

There are men and women who are in the charismatic movement who sometimes experience the wonder of that first Pentecost, who pray in the Spirit or speak in tongues. I’m not one of them. I survive with the conviction that the Holy Spirit works in most of our lives by nudging us, a little push now and then to be more patient, kind or understanding towards spouses, children. Maybe we’re nudged to make a phone call, drop a note, or make a visit to a house bound friend. Maybe we are touched by the idea to pray for people with cancer, especially children. Maybe we are nudged toward a deeper consciousness of the unfairness and desperation that darkens the lives of so many people. Maybe the Holy Spirit pokes us to think about the desperation of the men, women and children in the refugee camps in the Middle East or the coast of Italy. I like to think this is how the Holy Spirit is alive and well in us in the ordinary living of our ordinary lives.

We are good people but sometimes we get distracted by the soap operas of our lives that we forget the important things, the important people.

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians he tells of the fruits of the flesh; the fruits of those who live only for themselves, people who will not inherit the kingdom of God, they are fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy anger, quarrels and factions. Paul compares these to the fruit of the Spirit, people who respond to the nudges of the Spirit, they are; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control. If these are in our lives then the Holy Spirit is with us.

I read this recently, ‘Why do we not act like people who have God within us? Well, like anything planted so deep, the Spirit’s presence must be given a lot of time to make its way into our words, our actions, our deeds. Whenever we find patches of charity or joy in ourselves, or patience and kindness, or the ability to endure hardships and injuries; when we are tempted toward mildness and modesty, then we can be sure that the Holy Spirit is at work within us.’

Maybe we have to say to ourselves – be patient, the Spirit is not finished with me yet.

Bulletin – May 24, 2015

May 23rd, 2015

CONGRATULATIONS!

Congratulations to the following children from our parish attending St. Gabriel’s School who received their First Communion as a group on Sunday, May 17th, 2015.

Azher John Balajadia
Vince Cabaltera
Therese Celis
William Cha
Grace Chung
Dorothy Italia Copetti
Kayla de Guzman
Jean Philip Dizon
Ina Kim
Czarina Therese Reyes
Nicolas Saldivar-Brittain
Andra Serban
Regina Shin
Motolani Shoga
Zachary Vaz
Phoenyx Wyse

It was a beautiful celebration. Let us promise to support them with our prayers as they continue on their journey of faith.

ANNOUNCED MASSES

May 25th to May 30th 2015

MONDAY – JACQUE GRUOT – Requested by Theresa Yang
TUESDAY – SOULS IN PURGATORY – Requested by D. Lauzon
WEDNESDAY – JACQUELINE IREGI – Requested by Ruth & Marc
THURSDAY – LEWIS ROYES – Requested by Helene Royes & Family
FRIDAY – MARIA CHUNG & THERESA KANG – Requested by the Peter & Gemma
SATURDAY – GUS CALDERONE – Requested by Marie Calderone

PLANNING TO BE A CATHOLIC TEACHER?

It is important for you to know that to be hired to teach in any Catholic School Board in Ontario, as part of your application for employment, there must be a letter of reference from your pastor. If you are planning to apply to teach in a Catholic School, a contact with the pastor is highly recommended. Please plan to have a conversation with your Pastor early in the process, well before applications are to be submitted.

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE RELIEF

The Archdiocese of Toronto is accepting financial contributions for humanitarian relief following the catastrophic effects of a serious earthquake on April 24th The earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, and aftershocks have devastated huge areas of the country, with more than 7,000 people reported dead, many more injured and thousands of families displaced from their homes.

Relief workers from the official Catholic relief agency on the ground, Caritas Internationalis, say the victims most need temporary shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene supplies as relief operations gear up. So far, Caritas organizations around the world have pledged $3.3 million to the relief effort as well as providing 10,000 shelter kits and 3,000 tarps.

Those wishing to help may do so in the following ways:

Online through the Archdiocese of Toronto website: www.archtoronto.org

By phone through the Development Office – 416-934-3411

Through the parish, making cheques payable to:
St. Gabriel’s Parish – Nepal Earthquake – Humanitarian Relief

Donations to Date: $12,872

Donations made before May 25th will be matched by the Canadian government.

SHARELIFE

Working wonders for those who need help in our neighbourhood…

“What an ambassador for Mary Centre he was and Gord was really tickled to be chosen for this role as co-speaker.”said Dominic Conforti, retiring Director at Mary Centre. Gord, who is intellectually challenged, shared his story at the 2014 ShareLife Golf tournament about how he and his two brothers came to be part of Mary Centre. He spoke about Christina who helps them during the day involving them in activities in the community and teaching them to do things for themselves. Then there was James who is with them on the weekends and helped them grow a veggie garden every spring and summer and the pride they feel when they pick their vegetables. Last year, over 2,300 people with special needs received the compassion and care they needed to enjoy their life and be productive in their homes and communities
.
ShareLife, 2014: $220,250.
ShareLife to Date: $122,235

Thank you for your generosity.
Together we can work wonders!

FEED THE HUNGRY

Each month the food we collect is sent to Rosalie Hall or the Good Shepherd Centre. As summer approaches, food donations tend to drop off. These donations are more important than ever as families struggle to make ends meet.

Please check the expiry dates before donating since we cannot pass on food that has expired. Thank you for your ongoing support.

CASSEROLES FOR THE GOOD SHEPHERD CENTRE

Weekend of May 30th/31st

Your prepared casseroles (frozen please) will be collected at the Masses next weekend for delivery to the Good Shepherd Centre.

More volunteers are needed to help feed the hungry in our city. Please get a copy of a casserole recipe and a pan and give it a try. Three recipes are available on St. Gabriel’s web site. Printed copies of the recipes are also available in the Parish Office. Please remember to mark the label on the pan lid with the name of the casserole. For more information, you may contact Irene Albrecht at 416 221-2791.

MILK BAGS

Did you know that milk bags can be cut, looped and woven into sleep mats for individuals or families in developing countries? Schools churches and senior homes throughout the Greater Toronto Area would welcome your contributions. Please drop the colourful outer bags in the bin located in the gathering space. Please make sure that the bags are clean and dry.

For further information about this program please visit www.milkbagsunlimited.ca or contact Sharon Gusz at sharongusz@gmail.com.

SPRING MEN’S ACTS RETREAT

May 28th to May 31st, 2015

Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre

A Men’s ACTS retreat will be held at Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre on the weekend of May 28th to May 31st.

Men are invited to come deepen their Faith.

Private rooms with 2 piece ensuite.

Excellent Food for the Soul and Body

For more information, please call Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre at 905-278-5229.

DAY OF PRAYER AND HEALING FOR WOMEN

Saturday, May 30th

Do you know someone who is carrying the grief of a past abortion? Hope and healing are possible and God’s mercy endures forever. The Sisters of Life will be hosting a Day of Prayer and Healing for Women in Toronto on Saturday May 30th.

For confidential registration please call the Sisters of Life at 845-357-0258 or email hopeandhealing@sistersoflife.org. Visit http://www.sistersoflife.org/days-of-prayer-healing-testimonies-faqs for additional information.

MOSAIC INTERFAITH

Mosaic Interfaith are entering a team in the Big Bike Ride for Heart and Stroke on June 25th and are looking for more riders. If interested contact thisisfran@yahoo.com for more information and let her know you are from St. Gabriel’s. Each rider would be expected to raise a minimum of $25.

HIKE AND PRAYER: TORONTO ISLAND

Sunday, May 31st at 1:45 PM

Meeting at the Toronto Ferry Docks

Young adults (18-39) are invited to take an opportunity to slow down with God and enjoy the beauty of nature, with the theme “Be still and know that I am God.” The hike will end on Centre Island where you will have time to relax and to explore. Children welcome!

The group will gather at 1:45 PM at the Toronto Ferry Docks located at the foot of Bay Street and Queens Quay to take the 2:15 PM ferry to Hanlan’s Point, rain or shine. Ferry cost is $7.25, includes return. For more information or to RSVP, please go to faithconnections@csj-to.ca.

SEEING WITH HEART – DAY OF REFLECTION

Catholic Parents of Lesbian Daughters and Gay Sons

Saturday, June 6th from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Scarboro Missions, 2685 Kingston Road

A retreat for Catholic parents of lesbian daughters and gay sons will be held at the Scarboro Missions, 2685 Kingston Road on Saturday, June 6th.The cost for the day including lunch is $40.00. For Brochure and information call John Montague at 416-523-6449.

DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE (CARITAS CANADA)

Saturday June 6th from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM

ST PATRICK’S PARISH, Markham

You are invited to attend the annual year end meeting of the Toronto Development and Peace organization on Saturday, June 6th. There will be a presentation on our relief work following the earthquake in Nepal.

Then Guest Speaker, Rev. Riscylla Shaw (a Priest in the Anglican Tradition) will speak on the topic: “Reconciliation…it matters to all of us” to mark the closing of the five year Truth and Reconciliation Commission (www.trc.ca) initiated by the survivors of Residential schools in Canada.

The meeting will be from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM on Saturday, June 6th at St Patrick’s Parish, 5633 Hwy #7, Markham, Ontario. Lunch will be provided. RSVP to Patricia Griffith at pcouscous@bell.net

MARRIAGE ENRICHMENT WEEKEND

Queen of Apostles Retreat Centre
1617 Blythe Rd., Mississauga

Consider joining a Marriage Enrichment Weekend for married couples focused on improving communication skills, refreshing and renewing your marriage. The weekend is hosted by a team of three married couples and a priest. For more information contact Gerard and Marge McCauley at gerard.marge@rogers.com or by phone at 905-792-1925.

FINANCE CORNER

Our operating expenses average $14,550 per week.

Collection for Last Weekend

Envelopes 409 $ 7,960
Loose Change 831
Weekly Portion of Pre-Authorized Giving 164 3,117
Total 562 $ 11,908

Homily – May 17, 2015

May 17th, 2015

One of the big events the city and the province are preparing for is the upcoming Pam Am and Parapam Games. The games begin on July 10 and whole event will end Aug 15th. Stadiums and the athlete’s village are all under construction. Commuters are going crazy with all the road work being done to be ready when the games start. Athletes will be here from Canada, the U.S., the Caribbean and Latin America. There will be an extraganza at the opening and closing of the games.

The high light of each event will be when the athletes go to the podium to receive their medals in recognition of their years of the hard work of training and discipline. It is then they know it was all worthwhile.

Stretch your imagination a bit and see today’s feast of the Ascension of Jesus as His going to podium to receive his gold medal and the praise of his father. His great feat was obeying the Father’s will and emptying himself of his divinity and taking to himself our humanity. Jesus humbled himself by enduring a humiliating death of a common criminal. Because of this the Father raised Jesus up in the Resurrection and gave him a name above every other name that can be named, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Jesus’ medals are his five wounds, blazing badges of his undying love for each of us.

Maybe we could also imagine that standing on the podium with Jesus are his Mother Mary and her husband Joseph both of whom made their lives available to God so that the Word could be made flesh and dwell amongst us.

The resurrection of Jesus and this feast of his Ascension to the Father are inseparable. The church separates their celebration so that we better grasp the meaning of two aspects of a single, indivisible event.

But what has all that to do with us?

In our first reading, Paul’s letter to the Christian community in Ephesus, he prays for his converts that God give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation as they come to know him, so that with the eyes of their heart enlightened they may come to know what is the hope to which Christ calls them, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance, what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for those who believe. Paul is praying that these good people come to appreciate and embrace the deep relationship they have with the Father Son and Holy Spirit because of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Paul calls them to live a life that is worthy of the calling to which they have been called.

A number of years ago I attended a funeral for one of our priests and the homilist was using the example of an up and coming baseball pitcher. The pitcher never realized his dreams. As the homilist said, pointing to his head – he had it here – and then pointing to him arm – but he didn’t have it here.

When it comes to our faith in Jesus our Christ most of us have it here – in our heads, we know all the prayers, we can recite the apostle’s creed, but how many of us have it here – in our hearts? How many of us know, as St. Paul says, with the eyes of our hearts what is the hope to which the risen Christ calls us? How many of us open our lives to a loving, life giving relationship with Christ? How many of us really trust in the love of the crucified Christ? How many of us see our faith as a reality that is meant to grow and deepen in and through our relationship with other people? Do we really believe we meet Christ, serve Christ and love Christ in every person who comes into our lives?

On this feast of the Ascension, this feast of fulfillment we can all ask for that spirit of wisdom and revelation as we come to know him, so that with the eyes of our hearts enlightened we may come to know what is the hope to which Christ calls each one of us and what are the riches of his glorious inheritance, what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for we who believe. May we have it here and most importantly have it here.

Bulletin – May 17, 2015

May 16th, 2015

VICTORIA DAY

Monday, May 18th is Victoria Day. The Parish Office will be closed.
There will be no 9:00 AM Mass that day.

CONGRATULATIONS!

Congratulations to the following children from our parish attending the Children’s Faith Program, Private and other Catholic Schools who received their First Communion as a group on Sunday, May 10th, 2015.

Leilani Bumanglag
Claire Burke
Maya Contway-Chand
Carina D’Souza
Mathew Durante
Mayven Farinha
Natalie Fung
Maximiliano Golshenas Rad Campuzano
AthrunHui
Coco Victoria Muradali
LaurynRamirez
Lilith Rhee
Jeremiah Thomas Saguil
Audrey Seymour
Catharina Tibau
Maximilian Wong
Sabrina Wong

It was a beautiful celebration. Let us promise to support these young people with our prayers as they continue on their journey of faith.

ST. GABRIEL’S YOUTH GROUP TEA AND FLOWER SALE

St. Gabriel’s Youth Group would like to thank you for your generous support of their tea and flower sale. They raised $1,085 which will go towards the group’s expenses for the World Youth Day to be held in Poland in July, 2016.

ANNOUNCED MASSES

May 18th to May 23rd 2015

MONDAY – VICTORIA DAY – No 9:00 AM Mass
TUESDAY – ANA SOFIA NASCIMENTO &
DECEASED MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY
– Requested by the Family
WEDNESDAY – SR.VIVINA DECK I.B.V.M – Requested by Margaret Anne Leckie
THURSDAY – CECILIA MANALANG – Requested by Plutarco Manalang
FRIDAY – PATRICK & NANCY YEUNG – Requested by Paul & Wai Chin Hwang & Family
SATURDAY – DECEASED MEMBERS OF THE HOLLOHAN
& STAPLETON FAMILIES
– Requested by the Family

CONFIRMATION

The Sacrament of Confirmation will be celebrated on Sunday, May 24th at 7:30 PM at St. Gabriel’s Church. In preparation for this Sacrament, a Confirmation Retreat will be held on Saturday, May 23rd from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at St. Gabriel’s Church.

All candidates must attend. Candidates are reminded to bring a signed letter from the service coordinator or a parent stating the completion or anticipated date of completion of volunteer service hours.

PLANNING TO BE A CATHOLIC TEACHER?

It is important for you to know that to be hired to teach in any Catholic School Board in Ontario, as part of your application for employment, there must be a letter of reference from your pastor. If you are planning to apply to teach in a Catholic School, a contact with the pastor is highly recommended. Please plan to have a conversation with your Pastor early in the process, well before applications are to be submitted.

FEED THE HUNGRY

Each month the food we collect is sent to Rosalie Hall or the Good Shepherd Centre. With everyone struggling at this time, these donations are more important than ever. Please check the expiry dates before donating since we cannot pass on food that has expired. Thank you for your ongoing support.

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE RELIEF

The Archdiocese of Toronto is accepting financial contributions for humanitarian relief following the catastrophic effects of a serious earthquake on April 24th The earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, and aftershocks have devastated huge areas of the country, with more than 7,000 people reported dead, many more injured and thousands of families displaced from their homes.

Relief workers from the official Catholic relief agency on the ground, Caritas Internationalis, say the victims most need temporary shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene supplies as relief operations gear up. So far, Caritas organizations around the world have pledged $3.3 million to the relief effort as well as providing 10,000 shelter kits and 3,000 tarps.

Those wishing to help may do so in the following ways:

Online through the Archdiocese of Toronto website: www.archtoronto.org

By phone through the Development Office – 416-934-3411

Through the parish, making cheques payable to:
St. Gabriel’s Parish – Nepal Earthquake – Humanitarian Relief

Donations to Date: $5,946
Donations made before May 25th will be matched by the Canadian government.

SHARELIFE

Working wonders for our new arrivals in Canada…

Within one year of arriving in Canada, large numbers of immigrants who had no prior mental health problems experience mental health challenges that often impede their ability to settle in Canada. In addition, there are few culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services. Last year, ShareLife agencies helped to meet this challenge by providing advocacy programs for more than 40,000 immigrants and refugees in the GTA.

ShareLife, 2014: $220,250.
ShareLife to Date: $120,860

Thank you for your generosity.
Together we can work wonders!

JUST COFFEE

Fair trade organic coffees will be on sale after all the Masses next weekend.

Regular ground coffee: $5.50
Decaffeinated: $6
Whole Beans: $5.50
Chocolate Bars: $4 incl. taxes
Hot Chocolate and Cocoa: $4.75
Teas: $4.25

MILK BAGS

Did you know that milk bags can be cut, looped and woven into sleep mats for individuals or families in developing countries? Schools churches and senior homes throughout the Greater Toronto Area would welcome your contributions. Please drop the colourful outer bags in the bin located in the gathering space. Please make sure that the bags are clean and dry.

For further information about this program please visit www.milkbagsunlimited.ca or contact Sharon Gusz at sharongusz@gmail.com.

CELEBRATE YOUR MARRIAGE WITH A WORLDWIDE MARRIAGE ENCOUNTER WEEKEND!

May 22nd to 24th

Married couples: You deserve a weekend to cherish being together; to rediscover each other and focus on ways to make your relationship even better. A Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend offers this opportunity. Consider giving each other or another couple you know the gift of a weekend away from daily pressures; time to be with each other and with God on a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend.

The next weekend will be held on May 22nd to 24th, 2015

For more information and application, please go to www.wwme.org or contact: Gerard & Marge McCauley at gerard.marge@rogers.com or (905) 792-1925.

SPRING MEN’S ACTS RETREAT

May 28th to May 31st, 2015

Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre

A Men’s ACTS retreat will be held at Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre on the weekend of May 28th to May 31st.

Men are invited to come deepen their Faith.
Private rooms with 2 piece ensuite.
Excellent Food for the Soul and Body.

For more information, please call Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre at 905-278-5229.

DAY OF PRAYER AND HEALING FOR WOMEN

Saturday, May 30th

Do you know someone who is carrying the grief of a past abortion? Hope and healing are possible and God’s mercy endures forever. The Sisters of Life will be hosting a Day of Prayer and Healing for Women in Toronto on Saturday May 30th.

For confidential registration please call the Sisters of Life at 845-357-0258 or email hopeandhealing@sistersoflife.org. Visit http://www.sistersoflife.org/days-of-prayer-healing-testimonies-faqs for additional information.

SEEING WITH HEART – DAY OF REFLECTION

Catholic Parents of Lesbian Daughters and Gay Sons

Saturday, June 6th from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Scarboro Missions, 2685 Kingston Road

A retreat for Catholic parents of lesbian daughters and gay sons will be held at the Scarboro Missions, 2685 Kingston Road on Saturday, June 6th.The cost for the day including lunch is $40.00.

For Brochure and information call John Montague at 416-523-6449.

DYNAMIC WOMEN OF FAITH BREAKFAST WITH DR. JOSIE LOMBARDI

Saturday, May 23rd, from 9:00AM to 11:00 AM

Markland Wood Golf Club

Join them for an inspiring morning at Markland Wood Golf Club (245 Markland Drive) for a fantastic hot breakfast, an engaging speaker, amazing women & tons of ideas for women wanting to grow spiritually! You will also discover the joy of hosting a mother’s group and the importance of ministering to moms. Tickets are $28 and available at www.dynamicwomenfaith.com or by calling 905-279-7702.

Tickets must be purchased before May 19, 2015 and will not be sold at the door.

FINANCE CORNER

Our operating expenses average $14,550 per week.

Collection for Last Weekend
Envelopes 419 $ 7,934
Loose Change 938
Weekly Portion of Pre-Authorized Giving 166 3,153
Total 585 $ 12,025
Papal Charities $ 2,508

Homily – May 10, 2015

May 10th, 2015

In today’s scripture readings the word ’love’ is used 18 times. Jesus makes it clear that the authenticity, the ‘realness’ of our life as Christians, as his followers, stands of falls on our efforts to love other people as we have been loved by God.

This word ‘love’ is the most overuse and abused word in the English language. We often say,’ I love this or that. What we really mean is I like, I admire, I want, I envy or, I wish I had what you have. In our relationships we use the word ‘love’ to entice or to lure another person into a casual kook-up but not honest and committed relationship. We toss the word love around so much that we’ve trivialized and cheapened it.

Love is a costly word, a demanding word, it is a ‘never give up’ word. Love demands fidelity and commitment from us. We see loved lived in a husband and wife celebrating 50 or 60 or more years married having lived through the good and the bad and maybe even the ugly but hung in there and still love each other.

We see love lived in the son or daughter, the husband or the wife caring for a parent or a child who doesn’t even know who they are, who slip in and out of reality. We see loved lived in the spouse who sits day after day at the bedside of the love of their life slowly, ever slowly slips away. We see love lived in the mother and father who will not give up on a prodigal son or daughter who have abandoned the faith or the values on which they were raised. We see love lived as each one of us tries and tries again to live the great commandment, ‘love one another as I have loved you.’

Love is not the same as like. There are people we get along with, people whose company we enjoy. There are people we can work with, spent time with, people with whom we are comfortable. We can love such people.

Then there are people we can’t stand, people who annoy us and drive us crazy. We know bossy people, controlling people, intruding people, people who talk behind our backs or put us down, people who are so negative about everything in life. We brush shoulders with people who belittle our faith, our church. We may work with people who have no respect for our culture and traditions, people who do not respect our life style nor try to understand it, people who wouldn’t give us the time of day. These are the men and women we are called to love. If we love only the people who love us there is no challenge to love. As Jesus taught us ‘if we love those who love us this is not enough, as Jesus said, ‘even the Gentiles do that. He said you are to love your enemies and do good to those who harm you. Love calls us to pray for the well-being of others. We try to respect them even though they do not respect us. We pray that God be good to them even though they are not good to us. Love demands we do them no harm and do not belittle them even though they do not offer us the same courtesy. It is not easy to turn the other cheek but our faith tells us these people we don’t get along with, people we don’t want in our lives are as loved by God, precious to God as we are. We know in our hearts that Christ died on the cross for them just as surely as he died for us.

Because of our inbred prejudice, bigotry, mindsets, deep seated opinions about other people it is a constant battle to be respectful of other people’s cultural backgrounds, their faiths and their life styles. It is not easy to love and pray for religious fanatics who hate our faith and freedom but we have to try.

In one of his recent talks Pope Francis said ‘it isn’t a matter of whether or not we will fall, it is a question of whether or not we will get up? Will we get up after we fall admitting our words, our thoughts, our actions toward others were not worthy of Christ. Will we get up and keep on trying to love others as Christ has loved us?’