Bottom line: We do not come to God as individuals, but as children of the New Israel.
In the first reading we listened to the words of St. Peter - the spokesman for the early Church. It is interesting how he begins. He does not speaks about God as some abstract being. No, he talks about the God who has acts in human history. This is what St. Peter says, "The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers."* We relate to God as part of a people: Israel, the children of the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In Jesus you and I are children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In Jesus we belong to the New Israel - the Church.
Now, it is true each one of us must have a personal relationship with Jesus, with God. How else could we relate to him than as persons? But personal does not mean that we are isolated individuals. On the contrary, we are part of a family: The parish is a family of families. Here we receive the sacraments - especially the Sacrifice of the Mass - that joins us to Jesus and to each other.
As Catholics, we do not stop with the parish. We are not congregationalists. The Church does not ultimately belong to us. It belongs to Jesus. He chose Peter and the Apostles. They chose bishops as their successors. Here in the Archdiocese of Seattle, we have Archbishop Brunett as our bishop.
One of Archbishop Brunett's biggest responsibilities is to provide pastors for our parishes. That means the training of seminarians and the support priests, deacons and others who guide us.
This Sunday we hear about the importance of supporting the work of Archbishop Brunett and the Archdiocese of Seattle. I want to ask you to give your full attention to a presentation on the Annual Catholic Appeal. Before calling him forward, I ask you to remember that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Our God is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers. We are children of Israel, children of the New Israel founded by Jesus. With that in mind I ask you to give your full attention to _____________________________________.
*Acts 3:13. In a similar vein, Jesus explains in today's Gospel that his suffering, death and resurrection fulfill "everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms..."
Intercessions for Third Sunday of Easter (from Priests for Life)
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Bulletin (Fr. Frank Pavone - Mercy Sunday; Archbishop Dolan - Church as "mamma bear"; Retreat in Mission, B.C.)
Visit of Fr. Frank Pavone
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