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From Deacon Brian

Third Sunday of Ordinary Time    Year “A”     Matthew  4:12-23

 

Where are we with our New Year’s Resolutions?

Have we been following OUR NEW plans?

 

The New Year is our opportunity to get rid of the old and bring in the new.Stores havesales to get rid of their old stuff to bring in the new eye catching fashions, energy saving, self cleaning, faster products for us to follow.

 

Many followers of football willsay good-bye to the old NFL Super Bowl Champions and bring in the New Super Bowl Champions of 2014.

The new year alsobring the elections, February 1, 2014,which offers us the opportunity to vote out the old and vote in the new candidates to lead us.  Pushing the button means that we believe in their messages and follow their ideas.

 

Even the Gospel begins with replacing the old with the new. John the Baptist’s exit left the opening for Jesus’ entrance. John’sarrest was ordained.  He completed his task and his chapter has ended.

 

Now it was time for a new beginning.  From God comes a great light.  As prophesied in the Old Testament, Jesus had come and must do his task.In accepting hiscalling, he prayed, prepared andfollowed His father’s will.

 

Jesus first left Nazareth and went to the town of Capernaum.  He shut that door that lay behind him and opened the door that stood before him.  Ended the chapter of the Old Testament and opened the chapter of the New Testament. Proclaiming……….out with the old in with the new.

 

He later proceeded to Galilee to begin his ministry, knowing exactly what he was doing.  It was a small region, only about 25 by 50 miles bound by Syria and the waters of the Sea of Galilee. The region was fertile and rich in soil.  It also wasinviting to those who lacked farming skills.

 

It was well populatedand its people were open to new ideas and ready to follow a new leader. Galilee was surrounded by Gentiles, Samaritans and Syrians.  Many roads of the world passed through it.  The way of the Sea of Galilee broughta new frontier of people to that region.

 

It was the perfect place where a new teacher had a chance to be heard and announce his new message.In order to announce His message He needed people to follow Him and Hismessage.  He would need new blood to accept the new word “Preach” that had come into the world.

 

To proclaim the Gospel He faced the task of gathering His followers. So as Jesus walked near the Sea of Galilee His voicecalled out to Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John who were all fisherman.  In calling them, he said, “Come follow me”, and they immediately left their nets and boats.  Following Jesus meant they believed in His message&His new ideaswould lead them to a new direction.

 

This leads us to the following question. As a faith community,do we hear and follow what the gospel says?

 

First, we should beginthis year by following Jesus’ exampleof His Baptism.  Beginning today, we should renew our baptismal promises and renew our faith as followers of Christ.  Also, commit to His will and work by helping our families, friends, and non believersto be followers of Christ.

 

We can help by creatingnew plans and ideas such as fundraisers for the church and its people.  God has sparked a light in your minds and hearts to do so.  You see I hold the proof of your new ideas.  The church survey was very productive and getting your thoughts, feeling and ideas.  From these surveys, we hear your voice and one idea repeated again and again was;“Evangelization of the streets of this community calling our neighbors to come and witness of the greatness of Star of the Sea, spread the good news and sharethe preaching of our marvelous new pastor”.

 

In December Father Tony said we should plan a Neighborhood Evangelization Day. It was the main idea of the parishioners in the survey.  The Pastor has spoken, the people have voice their ideas and today the voice of the Gospel calls us to preach the gospel and gather disciples for Christ.  We share the same idea united by the same faith and purpose.

But before we depart from Star of the Sea we shall prepare our minds and spirits.  We will gather for a day of teaching, training and preparationso we know where we are going, what to do and say, and plan a date and time of Evangelization.Also, praying for God’s blessings that His harvest is productive and abundant.

 

St. Roch areais small,its only about one 1mile by 2milesbound by Franklin Avenue to Elysian Fields and St. Claude by Interstate 610.The area is developing fast;rental and real estate property is inviting forbuilders. The Park is active with families.St. Claude Avenue is growing with new and old businesses such as the St. Roch Market. This invasion is due to Katrina, which created a large injection of new blood into this community who will seek places of worship.

 

St. Roch is surrounded by Baptist, Presbyterian and United Methodist places of worship.  Star of the Sea is on the map but we must invite people herewhere they have a chance and place to hear a message with passion. This area is perfect tobegin our mission where there are plenty of people to gatherhere for worship.

 

The way to the Sea are many ways, we have parishioners that travel from across Lake Pontchartrain Twin Spans from Slidell, for Eastern New Orleans, from Laplace, Jefferson Parish, Kenner, some cross the Huey P. Long from Boutte and across the Mississippi River Bridge from Harvey. Many bodies of water, streets and highways lead to Star of the Sea and the St. Rock community.You know our church is a landmark in this area.  From the Interstate our steeple stands tall and is eye catching. This is symbolic of the strong diverse people of this Great Parish who travel from all cities, parishes near and far.

 

In order to announce this message we need these great people to believe in our message and follow us.  All year we follow new clothing trends, new appliances, the newestcars,we follow football teams for six months and out ofstate and politicians to the polls.  How much effort isbeing put into following Christ?

 

We are inviting you to follow us in ‘Proclaiming the Gospel’ and ‘Evangelize’this community.  Men, women and children ofthe Star, you are the voicesto raise up this church,this neighborhood and beyond. The streets of St. Roch are the arteries flowing with new blood.

 

We are being called not just to preach the gospel to this area but thoughout the whole world.  God calls us here to this site, prepares us here and expects that we return to other sites of Slidell, Eastern New Orleans, Laplace, Jefferson Parish, Kenner, Boutte, Harvey and beyond to proclaim the gospel to all.  Deliver God’s Word to our neighbors, our work places, the homeless shelters, the sick, the poor, inprisons.Bring His Word to everyone &every place, even to the oldest &to the newest.

Sometimes words are not required when we bring the gospel to others. It’s by our actions, when we visit hospitals, reach out to the homeless, extend a handor comfortthose in grief and pain.  Christ did not preach with words all the time he used the human touch. He touched people hands and heart.  You do the same wherever you go. We can turn their darkness into light.

The light you have is far beyond the light we see with our eyes.  Wehave received the Greater Light through our baptism and from this Eucharist Tablewhich has brought us abundant joy, great rejoicing, a job offer after a recent lay and recovery from an illness.  Share our light and any events that were turned around in our lives byGod, Who has done good works in our lives.   Weekly we proclaim, God is good and all the time God is good.  Follow that message and take your great light intothe world and let the world SEE it.

 

Let us begin this New Year by proclaiming and following the gospel.

 

The ending of the gospel.  Jesus called the least expected

 

Jesus went out and gathered fisherman.  Ordinary People   Not scholars

Not highly educated, people with skills

Don’t need extra ordinary words to bring people to Christ

We can follow with the least ability ofEvangelization.   God can use you.

Old Testament- God used a donkey to talk to people.  Book of Numbers Chap.  22

 

Please follow the church’s bulletin for the date of the Evangelization Day.

Until then my message is Go forth and proclaim the Good News of the Gospel.