Last Sunday we gathered together to celebrate the patron saint of our parish with a picnic, friends and parishioners gathered together to honor me on the occasion of my 40th anniversary of ordination, 40 years of priestly service to a variety of parishes. As you know I served at Saint Elizabeth, Milpitas, Saint Victor, Saint Julie in San Jose, Saint Joseph of Cupertino, Saint Cyprian in Sunnyvale and Saint John Vianney in San Jose. Over ten years ago I was prayed into Saint Anthony parish upon the reassignment of Father Warwick James. Getting assigned to Saint Anthony parish was not on my radar screen in 2006, I am ever grateful that people prayed for their next pastor and it turned out I was called to serve you. It continues to be a blessing to collaborate, serve you and be with you. You have nourished my life. As food nourishes us, may Christ nourish us always as we celebrate this feast today.
Christ invites us to nourish our spirits, nourish our spiritual lives through regular prayer, quiet reflection and meditation and then come forward on Sundays to receive the Gift of Eucharist, the very life of the Lord that we celebrate today on this feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, formerly known as Corpus Christi Sunday. Listening to the living word of God, participating in Eucharist is part of a healthy lifestyle, and helps us to prioritize our activities on the Sabbath or Sunday. My heart goes out to those families that struggle with so many weekend activities, sports, gymnastics, extracurricular activities, and sometimes even school activities that make it difficult to come together for worship, to come to the Eucharistic banquet on Saturday evening or Sunday. Without that grounding activity does Sunday just become like any other day? Is it just another day to get things done? Or is there room for some Sabbath rest?
As we heard last Sunday, on Trinity Sunday, we recognize the profound communion of persons in the Trinity, the Father as lover, Christ as grace, and the Holy Spirit who unifies in fellowship. If God exists in relationship, how much more do we need to be in relationship with God, with each other and with ourselves, recognizing we are created in God’s image and likeness? And we know that even God rested on the seventh day of creation. Where and when do we find time, make time, or take time for rest?
Part of the Sabbath is giving our bodies time to rest and rejuvenate so that we can prepare for the work week ahead of us. Part of Sabbath rest is giving thanks to God for all the gifts God gives to us. Part of Sabbath rest is to remember who made us and who breathes life into us. Now that school is over for the summer, I hope that families can engage in rest, Sabbath rest and come to Mass wherever you find yourselves on vacation or even here at home. We need to breathe in Christ’s life regularly.
Let us do the best we can to lead healthy lives, make good food choices, make time for the Lord to celebrate the Eucharist and be good stewards of the gifts God gives to us. Please remember Saint Anthony parish relies and depends on your financial support throughout the year. Using on-line giving ensures a regular and steady flow of income to support the work and ministry of the parish especially over the summer months when families and individuals go away for vacation. Please support the parish even when you go away. Thank you. Blessings, Father Larry Hendel