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Weekly message
from Fr. Chris

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Salt & Light

February, 5th, 2023

Dear SPA Family,
Great mystery of faith, be salt of the earth and light of the world!
I remember the times when one of my neighbors would come to our house to borrow some salt. After some time, my mother would go to the same neighbor for the same purpose. It used to be very normal to borrow such small things, things like; salt, sugar, a love of bread, a few cups of flour or beans.
Relatively recently, an initiative called A Cup of Sugar was launched. It was intended to revive mutual acquaintance between neighbors who lived in extreme isolation and did not even know each other’s names.
These situations show us how a person looks for something that is necessary for life: another human being. Sometimes, any excuse is enough to establish a relationship with another person. But also, sometimes so little is enough to lose contact with our neighbors.

Today Jesus calls us and reminds us that we are the salt of the earth. As His believers and followers, we are to be such people who will become as necessary and essential for others as salt in the kitchen, without which even the best dish will not have its taste.
We live in times characterized by enormous technical progress. The world has become a global village. But at the same time, people have never been so lonely and unhappy. And then God Himself stepped into this situation, in Jesus, He became one of us. In Him He shared our fate and experienced what it means to be unnoticed and marginalized. Let us recall Christmas: the stable, no room for him in the inn, the flight to Egypt... That is why, His words about the salt of the earth are so important and come from a deep experience. At the same time, Jesus tried to do everything to remedy this human poverty.
And he also obliged us, His believers and followers, to do the same. Share your bread with the hungry, help the poor wanderers, clothe the naked one you see, and do not turn away from your countrymen... - the prophet Isaiah instructs us. And St. Paul points to Christ, without whom human life is even more barren than unseasoned food.

It is therefore necessary that we hear anew and be moved by the word of God, the word of Christ addressed to us, in order to truly be the salt of the earth, the light of the world. The fate of our neighbors and their daily lives may depend on it. Will it be marked only by hardship, poverty, loss in the world of values, or will it become a pilgrimage along clear and certain paths of life towards the ultimate goal, which is the eternal dwelling with God?
Let us not let Christ, who is our salt and light, be taken away from us. Let us be salt and light for others.
Have a blessed week. Fr. Chris C.

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beatitudes

January 26th, 2023

Dear SPA Family,
None of us wants to lose our lives and we don’t want this life to become a series of failures and suffering. Probably each of us has a dream to taste happiness and joy. But unfortunately, we also have another dream: to make it easy, effortless, without difficult requirements. Meanwhile, everyday life tells us that there is no easy happiness. But we Christians, fortunately, have a path that will lead us to true happiness. This is how it’s presented in the Gospel of the Beatitude. The Eight Beatitudes is sometimes perceived as a kind of moral code. Instead, it is rather a promise that Jesus makes to his disciples. Indeed, following Jesus can cause fear: will I be happy if I follow this path? Jesus responds to these fears with a firm ‘yes.’ Jesus’ words even imply that those who follow Him are ‘condemned’ to be happy.

Yes, the followers of Christ sometimes lose some of the little happinesses that this world gives, but they gain a great happiness, which is stronger than any loss that may be incurred by choosing this way. Dear friends, let us dwell today on just a few of Christ’s promises: Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. I’m thinking about my grandparents here. They sure are celebrating today. Saints who preached to me with their lives and the wonderful love that united them.

The testimony of God’s presence in their lives was so clear that they needed no words to preach the Word. The meek are those who can preach the Word of God with the accuracy of their daily choices - and choose only what is God’s. Notice one more of the eight beatitudes: Blessed are they who weep, for they shall be comforted. Today’s people cry because they are ill, because they have failed in life, because they do not have an apartment, they cry because they were wronged at their workplace. They believe that they will find comfort when, thanks to God, they regain their health, suddenly make a career, get an apartment, and are told about a raise. It’s not just about that. There is comfort in understanding that what we fear, what we run away from, can bring us closer to God. What a pity that modern people who cry do not always cry when examining their conscience. And they’d have to cry more than once. After all, every day we learn anew that not every course of action leads us to win life.

Today’s world and today’s ideologies or social media are often paths to painful failures and disappointments. In order to win life on earth, we need such clear rules of the game as the Blessings - they tell us about the proven principles that lead us to happiness: do not put anything or anyone in the place of God, be quiet, calm, trust in God, try to follow the path of justice, be a person of peace, do not pass by indifferently towards those in need, control your impulses and desires, overcome evil with good and lies with truth. Finally: invite God into your life, share your joys and sorrows with Him.

Perhaps you will say - these indications in the Blessings are unnecessary, too difficult, not for today’s times, after all, today we are brought up stress-free, without effort, without discipline - know that the first people had such hopes before you - they also wanted to achieve happiness without working on it, but failure and disappointment awaited them. Meanwhile, Christ came to give us the way to true happiness, He showed us the way to victory, not only after death, but also here and now. This is the way of love and truth - and they are contained in the Beatitudes. Remember, if you want your life to be truly happy, the Beatitudes are the way to that happiness. And one more important lesson from the gospel: St. John Paul II once said: great happiness costs a lot, because it always costs what is of great value.
Have a blessed week. Fr. Chris C.

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