The 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
From the Pastor’s Desk
February 5, 2023
“You are the salt of the earth.
You are the light of the world.”
Often, my first thought when reading Jesus’ words to his disciples about salt without flavor being no longer good for anything but to trampled underfoot is how this modest mineral goes up in value during a particularly icy winter. As I return this weekend from the warmth of the Caribbean, I hope that this winter has remained mild during my absence.
Still, let’s consider how lousy weather can affect more than just a school schedule or someone’s disposition, like the many Americans disproportionately burdened by its heat or cold. Those without homes, the working poor who walk to work, or the day laborer willing to complete any job in any climate to get by. Witnessing these struggles can make you feel helpless, especially when we throw in the adage: “You can’t control the weather, but that doesn’t stop some people from trying.” I get it; confronting social injustice, poverty, hatred, rampant violence, sickness and suffering can be overwhelming. We might even become tempted to give up when the fruit of our labor is beyond our notice. Friends, that’s where our Lord comes in. Jesus reminds us that though it might feel like, more times than not, we cannot change circumstances out of control, we still must “shine before others” [Matthew 5:16].
Remember, you are the salt. You are the light. Take heart, knowing that your progress toward building God’s kingdom, no matter how small, will glorify our heavenly Father.
Please pray for our confirmation candidates on retreat this weekend, along with a fantastic team journeying with them, including their retreat organizers, families, and sponsors. On March 26, Bishop Bruce Lewandowski will confirm them, calling upon the Holy Spirit to endow them with powerful gifts. I’m eager to see how these teens, members of the Body of Christ, use their gifts of the Spirit to impact the world around them in a positive way.
I am also excited about the parish’s innovative and solid efforts to support the faith formation of children of all ages. Currently, plans are being made to expand the much-loved Good Shepherd’s Catechesis program to the elementary level. Moreover, our OLPH elementary faith family nights have creatively brought families together to learn and pray. It is a blessing to hear such favorable feedback and witness the energy from our parishioners engaged in these ministries. Thank you!
As you know, more than the parish’s efforts alone are needed to form our youth fully. Please pray that the Lord may strengthen the resolve of their parents and guardians so that their homes may cultivate the domestic church, the first place where faith is taught and nurtured. With the pressures of popular culture, I know it can be challenging to live out the faith boldly and courageously. With this in mind, please consider the fantastic resources of Ablaze Family Ministries. Check out https://ablazefamily.org/ and explore The One Best Thing Hub, filled with family resources to teach the faith. And be sure to take advantage of the Hallow App with its rich content library, audiobooks, tools to personalize your prayer experience, and more. Download Hallow in your app store or desktop at https://hallow.com/holydaypackage/, and search for “Our Lady of Perpetual Help” (select the Ellicott City option). You’ll have full access to the paid app through Easter.
Finally, I’m grateful to all who made my recent vacation possible, including our OLPH staff, volunteer parishioners, and brother Priests. I feel blessed, rested, and ready to return to God’s good work.