What is this Fr. Alex’s Corner?
It is time for an introduction. I am so grateful that the Novitiate community has given me space to share a weekly “reflection” on our Web Site. Fr. Maurice is the one I always call for computer advice, and Friar Albert is the techie-genius who punches the keyboards and outcome pictures, music, and even clever texts. Yes, I am grateful to them.
As for me, I’m the “old guy” at the novitiate, here to watch what’s happening even if all-to-often I have no idea what’s happening. As a retirement benefit, the Minister Provincial arranged that I move in with the youngest members of our Franciscan family, and like everything else that God has made, IT IS GOOD! I am called to help out a bit, but I also enjoy a life of peaceful prayer, and lots of time to read. In addition, I have a ringside seat to witness the miracle of discipleship happening in the finest young men you’d ever want to meet. We’ll talk more about that as the weeks go on.
For twenty-five years as pastor, my great joy was publishing the weekly parish bulletin. The bulletin can be anything the staff decides it to be, but I wanted it to be an instrument of evangelization. I cherished the opportunity to do a “From the Pastor’s Desk” column to report the goings-on of the parish, but more often it was a reflection on the weekly Scriptures. What “goings on” are more significant in a parish than our growing in the Lord and His grace?
I have also gotten a Facebook page to do this. My Facebook page won’t feature pictures of me at YOGA, or surfing the Pacific waves, or even bareback riding the elephant seals on Morrow Bay (poor seals!). Although that might make the front page of the San Luis Obispo (SLO) Journal, if not USA TODAY. I will certainly
welcome your comments and messages, but my focus will be a spiritual reflection. Say a fervent prayer (right now!) that God will direct this little project, and be glorified by it.
In the past weeks, we’ve seen how the Father Who So Loved the World sent His Son to us as a human being, as a baby, and into poverty. In this week’s Gospel we see the Baby all grown up and beginning His Father’s Business.
John the Baptist recognized and pointed Him out as the Son of God who came to take away the sins of the world. If He has come to take away the sins, what is He to do about sinners?
Notice that He does not appear on the scene with guns blazing and announcing, “You are all under arrest!” Some people fully expect that kind of Lord’s Day appearance. No, He is gentle, and says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17).
“Repent.” That means that He is taking us back to God. How does that happen?
Max Lucado, in his book “And the Angels Were Silent,” tells how he took his four-year old daughter for a walk. It was a lovely summer day and he decided to take her out of their cul-de-sac to other streets. The houses looked different, the kids seemed bigger, and the dogs barked louder. So he asked her, “Are you afraid?” She said, “No.” “Do you know the way home?” “No,” she said, holding his hand, “but I’m with you, and you know the way home.”
That’s what Jesus is doing, my friends. He is God’s hand, holding ours, and leading us home. He knows his way. He IS The Way. That is what “repent” means.
Listen to the gentleness of Jesus. You will understand why those apostles left everything and followed Him “immediately.” Have no fear. Hold His hand, and walk….
Fr. Alex B. Cymerman, OFM Conv.