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Father Muench Says...

Being part of Jesus’ family

September 30, 2020

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Each year, I am so impressed by our Priest’s Appreciation issue of the North Country Catholic. I am so pleased to discover the priests of my diocese, the Diocese of Ogdensburg, my brothers in this priesthood of Jesus, being honored in such a special way. I want to thank the people of the Diocese of Ogdensburg for recognizing and honoring their priests.

I hope that each parish has a Sunday dedicated to Priests’ Appreciation. I hope that you know just how much your priests love their mission to the Lord, Jesus. I believe that you know just how much your priests love your parish, their parish, and are always ready to care about you, the people of the parish.

I believe every Sunday should be a Priest Appreciation Sunday. They need it. Never be stingy with your gratitude. You show that gratitude with your involvement in your parish and by using well the opportunities you have to be Church. As we move forward, you, the people of a parish, will be more and more responsible for the life of your parishes. I am hoping this is the way you will find the unique happiness of being a Catholic during this rather difficult pandemic time.

Sometimes I find Gospel readings at a weekday Mass that I hadn’t thought of in a very long time.

Today, it was a reading from St. Luke. Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see Jesus but couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. Someone tells Jesus, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, and they wish to see you.” Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”

Some might be upset with Jesus. Why doesn’t he drop everything and go see his mother? I think Jesus was teaching us the message, “those who hear the word of God and act on it are my mother and my brothers,” have a vocation – a vocation to be a family – a family with Jesus as part of it.

Each Catholic parish must be a family – praying and working together, trusting each other and being united with Jesus, who must be a part of each family and parish. In this way, we are guided and lead to discover a better way to live well in the Spirit of our Savior.

Jesus cannot be some sort of faraway Lord for us. He’s much more than a statue. He’s more than someone we think of only when we make the sign of the cross. Jesus wants us, each one of us, to develop a relationship with him – a relationship like with “mother or brother.”

To accomplish this, we must form and develop our love for our Lord, Jesus. Only with love can we have a true relationship with Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Love humbles us. In this way, we see Jesus in others, and we discover what it means to “Love our neighbor.” Our parish truly becomes our family, and we realize that our vocation is bringing God’s love to others – even to the strangers that we meet each day.

Love of God helps us realize that our true riches are not within ourselves. It is all about others and what I can do about this love of others – this love of Jesus. This love is about the gratitude to God for all the opportunities that God places in my live to make my relationship with Jesus all that it should be.

Jesus asks us to make a commitment when we recognize how important our relationship with Jesus is. When we truly love Jesus, our family with the Lord becomes so profound. May our parishes be filled with a real relationship with Jesus and with each other. May we be a family filled with love. This is our commitment.

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