From conversations with you last week, I believe that your school age daughters and sons have either graduated or completed their course of studies for another year. We are officially in the season we call summer. Some graduates may be moving onto permanent employment or taking a break before the next challenge and adventure. Whether it is summer vacation for them, planning a vacation as a family, the warmer days of summer are here. We experienced the longest day of the year on June 21st and now the days will slowly decrease in terms of hours of daylight. I am an early riser and just before dawn, it is a very quiet time, hearing the sounds of birds from their nests or perches, singing, calling out to each other, communicating in that language only birds can understand. It is a quiet time for prayer and reflection, giving thanks to God for the gift of another day. Sometimes in our busyness, our efforts to achieve, we can bypass the sacred that envelopes us when we stop to listen, look and observe, or listen to our hearts.
Our church returns to Ordinary time when we count the Sundays, mark the Sundays through the liturgical season so we might grow in faith. Grow in understanding of who our God is, step back and see our faith as a whole. Unlike the major feasts we just celebrated, Easter, Pentecost, the Most Holy Trinity and the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Ordinary Time allows us to ponder the mystery of faith in its entirety every time we gather to enter into Eucharist, to celebrate the Mass. Throughout the week the Church remembers the witness of many saints, like Saints Peter and Paul, Irenaeus, Thomas, Kateri Tekawitha, and Saint Bonaventure. None of these men and women set out to be saints, they set out to be followers of Jesus and gave witness to their faith, in what we might say are remarkable ways. How do we live as disciples of Jesus? How can we give witness to our faith over these summer months?
In some ways it is very basic that we are to love the Lord with all our being and our neighbor as ourselves. The Lord invites us to stay awake, to pay attention and see what goodness is going on around us, apart from the tragedies that occur in people’s lives around the world. But, during these days, we can make a difference by helping to feed the hungry through summer meals programs: www.cde.ca.gov/Is/nu/sf/ We can purchase Payless Shoe Gift Cards, donate towards new shoes for the children at the Sobrato Center, or backpacks for the children attending Amigos de Guadalupe Homework Center. It can be a very fulfilling summer when we share our resources with others, give witness to our love of neighbor, and observe God’s closeness in our everyday lives.
Blessings, Father Larry Hendel