Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
March 22, 2009
Faith is the Key
This week we begin the fourth week of Lent. We have reached the half way mark. Soon we will be celebrating the sacred Triduum of the Paschal Mystery. Before that time however, we must continue our Lenten journey. Today we want to focus on the very important gift of Faith. Without faith we are in limbo. We have no direction, save our own. We can easily get lost and discouraged. For Christians there is no reason for this to happen. We have God’s words and his light. We know the way if we believe.
Again this week we look to the Rev. Neil Kookoothe to help guide us on our Lenten journey.
The son of Man was lifted up so that everyone who believes in Him might have eternal Life! John in today’s gospel links eternal life with belief in the one who was sent, Jesus, the son of God. Belief is essential to a deep intimate relationship with God and neighbor. Belief is essential for our own salvation and belief is essential for the salvation of our brothers and sisters. . .even if they be the least and the poorest among us.
Yes, belief is essential but in his letter to the Romans, Paul takes us to task when he admonishes, “How then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” Paul poses challenging questions to us who call ourselves believers. He sets the task squarely before us - we are sent to preach the good news of God, in word and in deed, so that others might hear and believe and thus have eternal life. We, you and I, are sent.
One way that Catholics can be present to others in word and in deed is through Catholic Relief Services, an organization that brings hope and dignity to God’s people. In our prayer, fasting and almsgiving CRS takes us to places such as the small rural farm communities in the country of Honduras. (We in NH have a special tie to this country because we have one of our diocesan priests who is stationed there.) Through CRS we reach people who live by farming their small plots of land. They till the soil and raise livestock to put food on the table for their families. Extreme poverty raises the stakes and a lack of resources and basic tools makes the work difficult at best.
One of the things CRS does for these farmers is to provide a Country School for Small Farmers. Through hands on experiential learning, Honduran farmers have acquired knowledge of animal nutrition and health, livestock improvement, production and marketing. The farmers have even gone from owning a few cows that barely produced milk to being the proud owner of a small dairy farm. Through the generosity of people like you, CRS has helped these farmers find a new outlook on life.
Make no mistake about it. We are sent! Not out of any sense of pity but because we are believers – sent to preach the good news of God in word and in deed. Paul concludes his exhortation to the Romans with good news of his own for us believers:
“How beautiful up the mountain are the feet of those who bring good news.”
Lorette P. Nault