“The true joy in life is working toward a purpose that you recognize to be a mighty one.” This paraphrase of George Bernard Shaw captures an important image for the Catholic Church these days. Today’s Gospel tells us what it means to bring Christ into your life. First of all, John the Baptist was never about his own interests, agenda, honor or fame. He was not trying to look great to everyone around. He also was not sitting back doing nothing. He was on fire for Christ because he knew deep in his heart that Christ is the answer and the purpose.

The Catholic Church itself is facing its greatest crisis in five centuries, so we need a spirit like that of John the Baptist. During that time, not all had been expecting the clergy to fix the problems. Meanwhile, some clergy, not all, blamed the laity for all the problems. Blaming others is usually not very productive. It is time for the church itself to admit that its structures and ways have not been working for a very long time. These days call for a man like John the Baptist who preached change and renewal. He did not hide behind the cloak of clericalism and superiority, but he said what needed to be heard. We ought to go beyond blaming and pointing fingers. Rather, we ought to listen to John the Baptist again. He is telling us to come to know Jesus Christ who leads us to the ideal way of transformation, so we can help others in life. We should never attempt to lead others, unless we have been led in our own lives by the love of Christ. Do not make it about yourself. When we serve our own interests, we end up generating mistrust, division, lies, suspicion, discouragement and sadness. Jesus Christ takes us in the exact opposite direction of these ways of thinking and behaving. The path of Christ leads to Joy and Gratitude, and John the Baptist points the way. On the other hand, the spirit of darkness grows where is discouragement and mistrust. Now, is the ideal time for anyone who has dreams for doing something “mighty” to step up. The necessary changes in the church will not, and did not, happen by the clergy. It is time for every man and woman to step up and embrace the values of Christ. This is a journey of a lifetime.

Once again, please take notice of the upcoming Dinner Dance. Please purchase your tickets, or even a table. Or purchase raffle tickets or donate a bottle of wine. This is our major fundraiser of the year in the parish. This funds will be used for tuckpointing the area above the Adoration Chapel. This Grotto is a special gift, unique to our parish, to be preserved for years to come. Thank you everyone for your generosity and goodness to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.

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