A Parish Vision of Hope and Ministry – Week 3

by Fr. Joe

A Vision of Hope

“To all of you, I repeat: Do not let yourselves be robbed of hope! And not only that, but I say to us all: let us not rob others of hope, let us become bearers of hope!”
Pope Francis (July 24, St. Francis of Assisi of the Providence of God Hospital, Rio de Janeiro.)

Our parish continues casting a vision of Hope and ministry through Scripture, Church teaching and cultural images during the next weeks. Our goal is fuller participation in God’s Sacred Mission through prayer worship and ministry.

God is our Hope

  • God desires to transform our lives through the gift of the Spirit given in Baptism and already present within us.
  • Our expectation of what God wishes to do for and through us expands through our experiences of God through prayer, worship and service.
  • God works in us so that we may become people of Hope – living with an abiding trust, confidence and optimism in God’s promises.
  • God’s gifts of peace and joy are possible even in challenging circumstances.
  • God is alive and active in us as our eternal source of encouragement.

We are Hope for Each Other

  • God empowers us with every gift and sends us forth each day to be Hope for each other in our every word and deed.
  • God’s power at work in us is for others and is given to be shared in faith with heroic love.
  • Jesus spoke plainly to St. Philip and speaks to us, “In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works that I do myself, and will perform even greater works” (John 14:12).
  • We are gifted to serve others and granted the grace to carry out the noble work of love through social action.

Superheroes for Christ

The popular cultural image of a Superhero is being used to focus attention on our role in God’s mission.

  • Superhero – an individual entrusted with a heroic mission and granted superpowers to carry out their noble work.
  • In Baptism we are entrusted with and empowered for Christ’s own heroic mission.
  • We are Superheroes for Christ sharing in a heavenly mission through ministry on earth.

Secular Symbol/Sacred Meaning

The most recognizable Superhero symbol is the S. S is also the first letter of the Latin word SPES – which means HOPE. Using our parish colors of green and gold we have converted the secular symbol into a symbol for Christian HOPE. Spirituality, Service and Social are the three ways that we live and act as superheroes for Christ.

Superheroes for Christ
Pes in Latin = Hope

Explore the animated and musical Presentation entitled “A Parish Vision of Hope and Ministry – Superheroes for Christ” created by Fr. Joe and Fr. Jared on our website: www.stphilip.org

Weekend Scripture Reflection

The prophet Amos highlights the need to vigilantly connect our individual spirituality to our lived experience in acts of generous service to others in need.

St. Paul exhorts us to offer prayer and to do works for the good of all, not just some, because God wishes for everyone to share in an abundant, knowledgeable and truth filled life.

Jesus states plainly that God trusts us with the care of all matters, however small. In interaction with each other nothing is inconsequential. Every choice of ours has an eternal significance. When our focus is set on using what God provides in each circumstance for others, we live as Superheroes for Christ through every look, gesture, word or deed.

Reflection on Service – The Strength of One Hand

Fr. Paul Murray O.P. who worked closely with Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta was deep in conversation with her one day, seeking to understand how she was able to be such a Superpower of love not only for the poorest of the poor but also for the world. Suddenly, Mother asked him to spread his hand out on the table before them. Taking each of his fingers one by one into her hand, she spoke the words, “You Did It To Me.”

In quoting Jesus from Matthew 25, “Whatever you did for the least of my brothers or sisters you did it to me,” and in taking his own hand in hers, Mother demonstrated the message of the Gospel and our part in God’s Mission on earth. The Gospel is not an idea it is an action verb of Spirituality. Spirituality believes as a way of living, it is service in the flesh -feeding, clothing, sheltering, caring, working for justice and peace.

Whatever we do for each other, we do for Christ, with Christ’s strength and in Christ’s name.

All of our senses are Superpowers for Service. Our eyes open for to us to see not only what is but what could be. Our ears are the portals to hear the needs of others. Our lips part to speak words of Hope, optimism, possibility, peace, and joy.

Our hands are given to work as the very hands of Christ among us. A simple wave hello gives hope, a touch gives strength beyond steel and gestures speak beyond words. Hands lift, hold, carry, defend, create beauty, communicate truth and are our vessels of goodness as Superheroes of Service for Christ. In each finger and together through the strength of one hand we live to profess and act through service, “You Did It to Me.”

Reflection Question

  1. What do you think of when you see/hear the word Service?
  2. How might you see your daily life as an act of service to Christ?
  3. What is God trusting to your care? In small ways? In large ways?
  4. Has your idea of Service changed?
  5. Gently hold each of the five fingers on your hand. As you hold each one recount five acts of service that you have done for others recently. Hear Christ say to you,
    “You Did It To Me.”
  6. What Service is the Lord calling you to this day?

Prayerful Activity

Take a moment to reflect on the hands that have cared for you. Picture your parent’s hands or hands that have been instruments of God’s providence for you giving – food, drink, comfort, hands as instruments of grace. Those hands were Christ’s hands. Pray for those people in gratitude. Ask God to show you how you might better use your hands to hear one day with joy, “You Did It To Me.”

Daily Prayer

God of HOPE, bring forth in us such joy and peace in our faith that the power of the Holy Spirit will enable us to act with heroic love in an abundant life. Romans 15:13