As I read and reflected on this Sunday’s readings for Mass, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Jesus’ quote from Luke 9:58. “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” The day before I left on my vacation a few weeks ago, our Basilian Fathers’ leadership and Bishop Fabbro asked me to begin serving at St. Anne’s Parish in Tecumseh on October 1st. There was more to this request because the young diocesan priests at St. Anne’s had also been asked to take on the ministerial leadership of Good Shepherd Parish in Lakeshore. These are huge parishes.
This Lukan passage I quoted is part of the requirement of being an apostle. In other words, for the preaching of the gospel to take effect, one must be ready to go. At the end of Mass, the deacon or the presider says, “Go, the Mass is over!” or similar words. Every Catholic is called to go and preach the gospel by his or her words and actions. These modern times call all of us to a greater commitment of faith and action. This is why our Canadian bishops are asking every parish to financially contribute to the needs of the Church in Canada this Sunday and the Vatican is also asking us to pray for migrants and refugees throughout the world.
We are living in times where the maintenance model of parish must change to the mission model of being parish. And this is the model to which all parishes in the Diocese of London are gradually adjusting. Here at Assumption Parish, there is a long-standing commitment to reach out in mission to students, staff and faculty at the University of Windsor, as well as to the people of West Windsor-Sandwich.
The readings for our Sunday worship call us to an integrity of faith and action. ‘Resting on one’s laurels’ is not today’s message. Not only are “men of God” called to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness, but all of us are called to this “good fight of the faith.” This is at the core of being a missionary disciple of Jesus Christ.
I am very grateful to the parishioners here at Assumption whom I’ve met over the past year. You yourselves have been on a roller coaster experience of parish life. My Basilian confreres and the staff here know this roller coaster ride too! Unlike the rich man in the gospel, we are trying to listen to Moses and the prophets and trusting in the one who has risen from the dead.