On Thirty-Two

The last year has been an interesting, and at times difficult one. I’ve been blessed beyond belief and I continue to be the receiver of blessings, even in the midst of difficulty.

At the heart of much of my reflections in the last year has been the purpose and mission of the Church. Why are we here? What does it mean to be the church? Are we living into that calling?

Related to these musings about the Church are questions about the pastoral vocation and the ways that I feel called to lead the church into its mission.

As some of you know I find much inspiration in the work and words of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. As I was reflecting on the pastoral vocation I came across a quote that I will carry with me in this next year.

As pastor, I invite you to listen

to the hoarse, imperfect echo of my words.

But do not regard the instrument; regard the one

who bids me tell you of God’s infinate love.

Be converted! Be reconciled!

Love one another!

Fashion a people of the baptized,

a family of God’s children!

Those who think that my preaching is political,

that it incites to violence,

as though I were the cause

of all the evils in the land,

forget that the church’s word

does not invent the evils in the land,

forget that the church’s word

does not invent the evils in the world;

it casts a light on them.

The light shows what is there,

it does not create it.

The great evil is already there,

and God’s word wants to undo those evils.

It points them out, as it must,

for people to return to right ways.

(Archbishop Oscar Romero in The Violence of Love, p 200)

I will continue to tell people about God’s love, I will submit myself and call others to constant conversion and to the work of reconciliation. And on a day and time filled with words of hatred, division and contempt, I will continue to call God’s people to love one another, especially those with whom we disagree.

On this 32nd birthday I am more convinced than ever that our church & our world needs the good news of Jesus Christ! I intend to continue to proclaim it in word and deed for that is my calling!

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