from Fr. Chris
September 11th, 2022
Dear SPA Family,
How easy it is to get lost? One of the contemporary Polish philosophers, Zygmunt Bauman living in Great Britain wrote a series of books on the so-called, liquid reality. Everything seems to be so fluid, so unstable: society, culture, time, economy, concepts of man, family, marriage, ethics or religion, and with it the concept of God Himself. How easy it is to get lost in this fluid, modern reality. And perhaps we have already experienced it in a sense.
Israel, the People of God who experienced the miracles of liberation and crossing the Red Sea, was also lost. Despite the fact that during the whole journey they were looking at God’s presence in the form of a pillar of fire and a cloud, it was so easy that they not only broke down in faith, but also demanded that Aaron melt a new idol, a golden calf, a remembrance of the Egyptian gods.
How easy it is today to be captured by the ideology of individualism and independence from traditional values: family, church, or traditions. It is the attitude of a sheep that has separated from the herd, perhaps by inadvertence, perhaps by the lure of other pastures, perhaps by the neglect of the shepherd, or perhaps by the indifference of the herd itself.
How easy it is in the daily routine of pursuing so many things to lose somewhere some coins, which were so necessary for the economic maintenance of the house. How many misfortunes, diseases, depression or even suicide were caused by economic difficulties. It is not difficult to understand the attitude of a woman who spared no efforts to find two coins.
How easy it is to get lost for someone who, like the young man, believes that he has the right to an inheritance, sufficient knowledge, strength and the courage of youth to go his own way.
This Sunday Gospel reminds us of Jesus’ three parables about the lost sheep, the lost coins, and the lost son who squandered a father’s fortune. But above all, they are parables about God’s mercy. In the parables of mercy:
Jesus reveals the nature of God as the nature of a Father who never claims to be defeated until He makes sin disappear and rejection through compassion and mercy.
God, rich in mercy and faithful to the covenant, once again comes to meet those who, like the people from Mount Sinai, for some reason have departed from Him. The experience of forgiveness releases the joy of the heart which sings: “For his mercy endures forever” Ps 135.
A God rich in mercy, like a good shepherd, follows in the footsteps of those who have lost their way in life and may have lost its meaning. He follows them to take them in his arms and joyfully leads them to safe pastures.
A God rich in mercy, like a responsible hostess and housewife, seeks to find those who have gone astray, busy with hundreds of things, and who are as precious to Him as this biblical coin, which we should rejoice in finding.
God, rich in mercy, in Christ turns his face of mercy to those who have turned away from him, and with paternal love and true joy He embraces them, and renews in them their lost and filial dignity. Have a blessed week. Fr. Chris Ciastoń
journeying as the baptized
September 4th, 2022
Dear SPA Family,
Jesus was never concerned with mere popularity and admiration among the audience. The Lord Jesus encourages, even more, obliges that the preached Good News be put into practice, that it becomes the way of everyday life. And here comes the problem. The audience began to leave Jesus. They did not have the courage to put everything on the line to follow Jesus. A small group of faithful disciples remained with Jesus. Questions arise - Why are so many departing from Jesus? What should it be like to follow Jesus? What must one do to faithfully follow the Master of Nazareth?
1. First, following Jesus should be done freely. It is supposed to be a voluntary answer. Jesus does encourage but not force anyone to be His disciple.
2. The choice to follow Jesus should also be made consciously. Jesus showed the consequences of such a choice. For instance, He talked about the builder of the tower and the king going out into battle. Just as a builder has to make a balance sheet to complete a construction, so that he is not accused of lack of thrift. Following Jesus is associated with some costs, with some price. These are various self-sacrifices, keeping the commandments, doing good.
The king, on the other hand, must discern whether he has a chance to win the battle, whether he is doomed or whether he should give up. Choosing Jesus involves taking up a spiritual battle. This struggle should be nourished by the hope of victory when we are with Jesus.
3. The choice to follow Jesus should also be made, not for any other reason, motive or advantage than for Himself. And it is supposed to be a radical choice. Choosing Jesus and following Him brings with it commitment and responsibility. Similarly, today we have many people who are fascinated by Jesus, who seem to be able to surrender everything for Him. However, the first difficulties, adversities problems contribute to the fact that the person of Jesus becomes more and more distant for them.
There are many who, despite their weaknesses and stumbles in their journey with Jesus, rise up and do not want to lose sight of the Master. But most of us try to follow Jesus faithfully. We made this important choice to follow Jesus freely, consciously, and solely for His Person. We often ‘pay’ a high price for this faithfulness. Maybe some people are pointing fingers at us, maybe they are laughing at us, they are mocking ‘such’ Teacher.
We should look at this reality of the journeying as the baptized with Jesus with great optimism. There is no need to succumb to pressure from ‘specialists of the Church’ from hostile press, TV, or internet portals. They are not the ones who make up the Church, they are not the ones who set the tone for this journey with Jesus. That it is so - let us mention World Youth Days or pope’s pilgrimages, and other wonderful religious events that are not advertised or publicized but bring so many people together and do so much good. It is necessary to look to the future with great pride and joy and to follow the Master.
Let the Eucharist be a strengthening on this journey; a strength to overcome difficulties and a strength to bear constant witness. Have a blessed week. Fr. Chris Ciastoń