Goodbye, St Andrew's
Today’s Gospel (Mt 8:23-27) is a fitting one to end on here with the St Andrew’s blog site (which will continue via my GW posts). It is all about faith which is the obvious theme of so many Gospel passages. But, the story of the Apostles in the boat with our Lord amid “a violent storm” is especially pertinent to many of us bloggers. The Lord immediately calms the storm when the Apostles turn to him in faith. Their faith is not perfect; Christ sort of blasts them for having “little faith”. But, they do show faith in him in the midst of stress and suffering and they are rewarded for their confidence in his power.
So many bloggers have posted their insightful reflections about faith here the past three years. Some have written with big faith, others with little faith. Some have a mature faith that will ride out the storms with God no matter what; others have struggled to stay in the boat (the Church) because God won’t show His power in calming their storms immediately. But, folks, here’s the thing: it’s all faith in Christ. If you’re reading this post, then you have faith. If you’ve posted on here before, then you have faith. Even if it’s little faith, it is still very powerful, as the Gospel story teaches us. If you feel like your faith is little or immature, please stay in the boat and continue to turn to our Lord amid the storms of your life with confidence. He may not calm your storms immediately, but I promise that eventually He will give you “great calm”. I promise He will give you peace eventually. God is peace. He cannot not give you peace if you turn to Him.
As Catholics, we put our faith in many things: Christ, Scripture, Tradition, the Magisterium, the priesthood, the sacraments, etc. I have been so humbled and inspired by the faith of our parishioners and bloggers. Thanks be to God, faith in Him has grown here so much in so many ways: in the Eucharist, in the Church, in Confession, in prayer, in Scripture, in the intercession of the Blessed Mother and the saints, in the priesthood, etc. Along with Fr. Mike, I am particularly grateful for the faith that you have shown in the priesthood of Jesus Christ through us.
The past few days and weeks have been a little bit different for me. It’s been all good (!), but different. I became a priest in order to be Christ in the boat…to bring his power and grace to people amid the storms of their lives. It has been absolutely awesome to be Christ to them at such pivotal moments! So many times, they barely even knew me, and yet came to me like they would come to Christ: with faith and seeking help. It was really between them and the Lord; I was just a vessel of His Grace. I understand why people thank their priests and it’s great that they do, but, as a priest, I am here to serve as alter Christus (another Christ), not to be thanked. In fact, I am the one who should be thanking them and God for allowing me to be a part of the whole amazing situation. It’s an indescribable honor and gift to be another Christ in the boat, calming the storms of people’s lives through His Power.
While today’s title says goodbye, this is not goodbye. I will be back to visit on occasion and will see many of you at future DC ‘Hood games. Also, we will see each other in prayer. Please pray for me and all priests, that we will be faithful. I will pray for you every day – many of you by name. I hope that you will continue to grow in your faith in Christ as a parish centered on the Eucharist and living the Gospel of Love. May God continue to bless you abundantly. Thank you, St Andrew’s!! I love you all.