Fr. Gerard’s Weekly Column: 5/12/24


May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him.

These words from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians were among those we heard this past Thursday as we celebrated the Solemnity of the Lord’s Ascension into heaven. As shared in my homily on Thursday, I found these words somewhat challenging in the context of the feast. We marked the event of Jesus’ physical departure from the world with words from St. Paul that long for a greater knowledge of Christ. How can we know him if he is so distant?

An article from Pew Research Center published on March 15, 2024 highlights that eight in ten Americans believe religion is losing its influence in public life. This perception is based on Pew’s survey findings, which indicate a widespread sentiment among Americans regarding the diminishing role of religion in society. The study delves into various factors contributing to this trend, such as generational shifts and changing attitudes toward religious institutions. It provides insights into the ways in which Americans perceive the role of religion in public discourse and policymaking, reflecting evolving societal dynamics.

I don’t think these findings are shocking. They reflect what we see and hear in our lives. We know that friends, families and even those who still frequent church are finding themselves distant from Christ. While we may have an endless debate about the reasons and faults for these findings, I think the answer is somewhat simple. Our relationship with God is like any other relationship; it needs work and it needs our time and attention. When couples, friends, and families find themselves drifting apart, the root cause is simply they stopped paying attention to each other. They stopped dedicating time to conversation and presence.

The Good News is that God is not like another person we relate to.  God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three persons, who remain committed to us in covenant, consistently present in sacrificial love and abiding with us in our lives. Other studies have revealed that the majority of the unaffiliated are not “unbelievers.” Even in our drifting, we still seek to know God. So, the question we disciples are challenged with is, “What will you do? What will you do today, tomorrow, this week and during the upcoming summer months to strengthen your relationship with God? How will you seek to receive the wisdom and knowledge of the God who has formed you in your mother’s womb and called you by name to be his disciple?”  A helpful tool to answer these questions is a book written by a priest friend, Fr. Jeffrey Kirby titled “Lord, Teach us to Pray,” a book which guides the reader through the challenges of discipleship and the various stages of prayer. In the book, Fr. Kirby lovingly and expertly examines the request that Jesus’ disciples asked of him.  Fr. Kirby focuses on three areas; the call to follow the Lord, to live virtuously and to pray, while laying out a course for growing in discipleship and strengthening the interior life. It is available on Amazon, and I have a few copies to give to anyone interested…perhaps for summer reading.

God has not left us, nor do we desire to leave God, but if we don’t pay attention to the drifting, we will find we are at a distance from what we most need in our lives.

HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY – We give thanks for the blessings of women and the motherhood that they live everyday of our lives. It is often our mothers who first teach us about God and how to pray. We ask the Lord’s blessings on all Moms today, living and deceased, and those who have shown maternal love, wisdom and care.

CHURCH DOOR CAMPAIGN – Donations have brought us close to the halfway point of our goal. If you are able to do so, please make a donation or pledge in support of this necessary improvement.