A Parish Vision of Hope and Ministry – Week 4

by Fr. Joe

A Parish Vision of Hope and Ministry

Superheroes for Christ – Week 4

A Vision of Hope

“The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of people. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every person. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with humanity and its history by the deepest of bonds.” (ALI)

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 challenges all those who are, “stretched comfortably on their couches,” to get up, get out and participate in God’s mission to others.
  • St. Paul describes the faithful person living out the grace and power of their Baptism as being filled with devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. The spiritual qualities become manifest only when we lay hold of them by consciously pursuing their use in service and social action.
  • Our Gospel is a parable about a rich man who is content to keep his privileged position and luxurious lifestyle, while ignoring the poor man who is in need right before him. The rich man even knows that the poor man’s name is Lazarus and yet continues to pass him by every day without taking any responsibility for making his situation better. Even from the ‘other side’ the rich man is trying to control the situation only for his own needs and for the need of those close to him. Those on the margins of his sight, like Lazarus, are seen as “them” and the rich man only has eyes for those he includes as “us.” The parable challenges us to truly see our social interconnectedness with every person as part of us. We are all God’s children, brothers and sisters in Christ.
Reflection on Social Action – To See with X – Ray Vision

On a plane, a very famous football player was being loud, demanding and obnoxious to a flight attendant. At one point the celebrity football player stood up and shouted at the attendant, “Do you have any idea who I am!” The flight attendant, with the kindest smile, lifted the microphone and addressed these words to the passengers, “Ladies and gentlemen, this man standing here doesn’t know who he is, perhaps one of you can help him out.”

Hearing the people’s laughter the famous celebrity saw his own selfish behavior as with X-RAY VISION. Gently and humbly he said, “I know who I am now, I’m the guy who needs to see beyond myself.” The next sound he heard was the warm applause of understanding.

One person and then another, seeing in new ways, can change situations for many people. Recognizing our responsibility to see the needs of others and heroically responding to those needs release the Superpower of Social Action that transforms us and our world. We become heroes of HOPE for the world in the name of Jesus Christ.

Reflection Question
  1. We are all in some way stretched comfortably on the couch of our lives. What is God’s Spirit calling you to get up and do?
  2. What catches your devotion, time, energy? What is God calling you to refocus on?
  3. When have you been faithful, patient, loving or gentle? Thank God for those opportunities to be a Superhero for Christ.
  4. Who like Lazarus is right before you in need? How are you being invited by God to respond?
Prayerful Activity

Sit in a quiet place, breathe deeply and gently and close your eyes. Be aware that you are in God’s presence. Ask God to give you the gift of insight, like X – Ray Vision, to see a person or situation in a new way from God’s perspective. A troubling relationship or circumstance may be your focus. How is God with you in this prayer and in which areas are you being invited to see, feel and respond in new ways?

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