My brothers and sisters in Christ, in the first reading taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah begins by saying “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call him while He is near.” It is very easy to forget the presence of the Lord around us especially when things become difficult. We can begin to question where He is at when all these things are happening. However, we must remember that even during those most difficult moments in our lives the Lord never leaves our side.
As most of you heard in the news or by word of mouth our mission Church Our Lady of Refuge burned to the ground last weekend early Sunday Morning. I celebrated Mass there last Saturday evening and I returned to Doylesburg to survey the Church property on Sunday Morning. Peering in from the front door I was able to look at the wall where the old main altar would have been and seen the charred remains of the crucifix the same crucifix in which I knelt down to say my brief prayer of thanksgiving after celebrating Mass a few hours before. Yes the damaged tabernacle was pulled from the rubble by fire company volunteers and its contents were removed and buried. For me the charred remains of the cross and the damaged tabernacle reminded me as it should remind all of us of the Lord’s presence.
Now whenever tragic events such like this occur we can begin to question why. Some of you might have had that experience. I will be honest when I heard about the news of the fire early Sunday morning I became sick to my stomach. My heart and prayers immediately went out to the parishioners of our mission however there was a part of me inside questioning myself was it something that I done, since I was the last one out of the Church was it something that I forgot to check. All these thoughts began to rush into my mind. It’s a typical human reaction. Why did this happen? That leads us to the next important line from the first reading “for my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways says the Lord.” We do not know why, we do not know what the Lord has in store for us. All I know now is that the Lord was present last Sunday morning as He is present every single time anyone experiences a trial. We must give thanks to almighty God no one was hurt and we must pray to accept as with anything else in our lives what has happened and move forward. God always has a plan we just need to pray to be able to accept it.
Matthew’s Gospel speaks about the generosity of the Lord. The Lord pours out His generosity evenly among His people. God has no favorites for each and every one of us gathered here and those who are not with us for whatever reason are His special children. He is always waiting to demonstrate His generosity to us although sometimes we need to be ready to ask and be open to receiving it. Remember the words of our responsorial psalm, “the Lord is near to all who call upon Him.” Stay close to the Lord my brothers and sisters…please stay close to Him. We are so blessed here in this parish for we have the Lord exposed and glorified on the altar in the chapel next door. If someone is not an adorer I would encourage anyone who might not be to consider it. Remember my brothers and sisters that is not a piece of bread we merely put in our mouths but is Him our Lord and Savior our redeemer Jesus Christ. You and I are so blessed to hear His voice speak to us in this Sacred Liturgy. The Lord is indeed near and no matter what we do we must stay close to Him! It is a must! Without the Lord we would be lost.
As you leave here today I give you a homework assignment and that is to invite all those you know to stay close to the Lord! Invite them to pray, invite them to worship. I also encourage and urgently invite you to consider your own spiritual life. We must ask ourselves, are we calling upon the Lord when we are in trouble? Are we taking the Lord for granted? During the day are we taking time to pray or is the extent of our spiritual life left to just Sunday? Now is the time to remain close to the Lord. May we go forth today giving thanks to the Lord for all that He has given us and by returning the favor by staying close to Him!
Our Lady of Refuge before the fire…
What remains of Our Lady of Refuge Sunday Morning 9/11/11
Please keep the faithful people of Our Lady of Refuge Mission in Doylesburg Pa in your prayers during this most difficult time. Over the years many people have been baptized, buried, and married in this little Church. It is such a terrible loss!