June 1, 2013 – Six Years and We Are Still Here

Well for the second week in a row the news in our part of the country is focused on the weather, as more destructive storms hit the Midwest last night.  Thankfully it appears no one was seriously injured in the St. Louis area, but at last check there were 9 more fatalities in Oklahoma.  Our prayers go out to the victims and to those who will be dealing with having to rebuild their homes, businesses, schools, etc. that the Lord will provide them hope and comfort in this difficult time.  We keep telling ourselves that these events are a product of the cycle of nature, but the frequency of these storms and flooding sure does make one wonder whether someone is trying to tell us something.

Turning to other things, the two or three of you who regularly read this blog may know that the first part of June brings with it a little milestone.  It not a wedding anniversary, a birthday, or a jubilee, but as I have said before us single computer geeks have to take what we can get.  It was on June 3 six years ago that our website, www.maryhoc.org, went online for the first time.  Now I do not consider this my anniversary, but a date for all of us as a parish (and beyond) to take note of and to take pride in. It has truly been a group effort which has helped our site continue to grow and prosper.  Without your ideas, photos, and words of encouragement, the website would never have gotten off the ground, let alone grown into what it has become today.  Who would have thought last year at this time that we would have a parish directory online for folks to use and enjoy?  Certainly not me, but I have found that the Holy Spirit works in that sort of way – it guides us toward the unexpected.

I do find it funny that after six years, once in a great while I’ll still have someone come up to me and say something to the effect of  “You know, I sat down the other day and took a look at that web thingamajigger and wow, there’s a lot of stuff on there!”  My sarcastic side is tempted to say “really, I hadn’t noticed!  I’ll have to check it out sometime.”  But I manage to hold back and say a simple thank you.  I of course still also get my share of folks who tell me that they know nothing about computers and will never even try to figure them out.  My response to all of this is that the technology of computers, tablets, smart phones, and other instant means of communication isn’t going anywhere, and we as a church must embrace this as a part of the new evangelization.  We cannot continue to let misinformation and falsehoods flood cyberspace.  We as Catholics must use these means to tell the world what we are really all about.  So again, I would ask for your cooperation in letting people know about our website and encouraging to take advantage of things such as our Facebook group.  Also, please let me know if there is anything you would like to see on our website, or if you have any photos, etc. that you think folks would find interesting.  What will the next year bring?  Who knows.  That’s part of the reason I enjoy doing this: you never know what sort of work the Holy Spirit has in mind.

It has been an immense joy to see this ministry flourish and grow.  However, anyone who works with technology knows that it can be frustrating at times also.  Things don’t respond to your commands, or virus infect your computers, or you can’t figure out why something won’t print out the way you want it to.  In fact, it can be frustrating in general to be a Christian at times.  We see more and more policies taking effect that erode our religious freedom.  We see more and more people not only ignoring their religion, but ignoring God all together.  We feel that at times we are in the midst of a losing battle.  It is hard at times to be a “happy” Christian.  Pope Francis, however, reminded us in one of his homilies this past week that the true Christian should follow the example of the Holy Spirit, who is the “author of Christian joy.”  He tells us that “to proclaim the Gospel we need to have joy in our hearts gifted us by the Spirit of God.  There is a certain understanding of Christian life that is marked by sadness, but long faces cannot proclaim Jesus.  Joy alone and praise of God are the only way to advance the Gospel.”  He went on to challenge those who were at Mass, and I think all of us as well: “Do you give praise to God or do you only petition God and thank God?  Do you praise God? … If you do not praise God, you will never know the gratuity of spending time praising God.  The Mass is long.  But if you go with this attitude of joy, of praise to God, that is beautiful!  This is what eternity will be: giving praise to God!  And that will not be boring; it will be beautiful!  This joy makes us free.”

I would encourage you as part of your prayer and reflection during the week to look up Pope Francis’ daily homilies.  They are not long or complicated.  They are simply worded and give us many direct messages and challenges.  I also read this past week that the Pope has presented the Vatican Communications office a great challenge because he does not always follow a prepared homily.  He will often speak “off the cuff”, which causes the office to scramble to translate what he said and to publish it in the many different languages.  My reaction to this is – GREAT!  What a genuine and humble servant we have as our leader!

Again, thank you for your support of our web ministry.  It sounds like we may have a t least a few nice days in the coming week.  Enjoy!  Have a great week.  Peace.

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