Will you let the Gospel transform you in 2011?

This is a letter I wrote for the January 9th parish bulletin
Dear Friends,

This year, so far at least, I have not sat down to write my New Year's resolutions. I still might do that. Although I don't have any resolutions for 2011, I think I kind of have a “theme.” This theme has been on my mind since about the middle of December. This theme is, “The Power of the Gospel to Transform Us.”

Transformation can be mysterious.  It can be wonderful.  It can be scary.  But it’s something that every of us needs.  The alternative is stagnation. 

Saint Augustine
When we read the Confessions of St. Augustine, we read the dramatic story about an intelligent young man - a hard-working young man with a heart that yearned for truth.  He experienced a dramatic transformation when he finally opened his heart to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In his quest for truth, he explored a number of different exotic teachings before accepting the truth of the Gospel. But only the Gospel of Jesus touched him to his core.  Only the Gospel of Jesus made his heart blossom and his intellect bear fruit. 

When we read or listen to the Gospels, we encounter many stories about how people were changed. Some people were sick. When Jesus entered their lives they were healed. Other people were pursuing a career. Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishing. When Jesus said to them, “Come, follow me,” they dropped their nets and followed him. From that moment onward their lives were changed. Matthew, the tax collector, was sitting at his table, collecting taxes when Jesus said to him, “Come, follow me.” He immediately dropped what he was doing and followed Jesus.

In the cases of Augustine and of these disciples, the moment of conversion was only the beginning. The process of transformation only began with their positive response to the invitation. The process of transformation continued for years. Sometimes the change was dramatic. Sometimes because of human weakness there may have been reversals. But always there was change.

You and me, none of us are “done.” All of us are in need of transformation.

The Gospels are not just any other book. I am firmly convinced that the Gospels have power. The Gospels have power to change you and me as individuals. The Gospels have power to change us as a parish community.  There is a force, a dynamism in the Gospels that we need to let flow through us, over us and around us; we need to become immersed in its energy, its power, its direction, its forcefulness. We need to cast off fear. We need to throw off our doubts. We need to allow Jesus, Our Lord and Our God, be the Lord and God of our hearts. Because it is He who is the power in the Gospels who transforms you and me, who transforms us as a community.

Father Liam 

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