1. We need to call Jesus in the storms facing the Church and our lives.
Let us approach Jesus with strong Faith in his ability and willing availability to calm the storms in the life of the Church and in our lives. Church history shows us how Jesus saved his Church from the storms of persecution in the first three centuries, from the storms of heresies in the 5th and 6th centuries, from the storms of moral degradation and the Protestant reformation movement in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and from the storms of sex abuse scandals of the clergy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It is the presence of Jesus which gives us peace even in the wildest storms of life: the storms of anxiety and worries about the future we are suffering now in the ongoing Corona Virus Pandemic (Covid-19), storms of sorrow, storms of doubt, tension and uncertainty, storms of anxiety and worries, storms of anger and despair, storms of temptations. Storms reveal to us our inability to save ourselves and point us to the Infinite ability and eagerness of God to save us. When Jesus shows up in our life’s storms, we find that we gain strength to do the seemingly impossible. For example, when Jesus shows up, he makes marriages out of mistakes, he invigorates, restores, and empowers us to reach the unreachable, to cross the un-crossable. Storms let us know that without him we can do nothing, without him we are doomed to fail. Yet, when Jesus shows up, we gain the strength to join Paul, saying, “In Christ I can do all things.” But this demands a personal relationship with God, with Jesus, enhanced through prayer, meditative study of Scripture and an active Sacramental life. Experiencing Jesus’ presence in our lives, let us confess our Faith in him and call out for his help and protection always.
2. We need to imitate the short prayer of sinking Peter:
We are expected to pray to God every day with trusting Faith for the strengthening of our personal relationship with Him and for the courage and humility to acknowledge our complete dependence on Him for everything. But when we have no time or mental energy for formal prayers, let us use the short prayers in the Gospels, like Peter’s prayer: “Lord, save me!” or the prayer of the mother of the possessed girl: “Lord, help me!” or the blind man’s prayer: “Son of David, have mercy on me!” or the sinner’s prayer: “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner!” We get plenty of time during our travels to say the short prayers like the “Our Father”, “Hail Mary” and “Glory be….” We may begin every day offering all our day’s activities to God and asking for His grace to do His will and we may conclude every day before we go to sleep, by asking God’s pardon and forgiveness for our sins. Keeping a Bible on our table will encourage us to read at least a few words of the Bible and thus listen to what God is saying to us.
3. We should not limit God’s saving presence:
There are those who would limit God’s presence for their own comfort or security or to keep themselves in power. In years past there were those who would deny God’s presence in slaves. There have been those who would ignore God’s presence in their enemies. There are those who would refuse to believe that God is present in the murderer sitting on death row, in those who are marginalized by our society: the gay person, the addict, the person living with AIDS, the illegal alien, the handicapped. It is in situations like these that we have to get out of the boat, surprise others, and show them the reflection of God in such people. Let us always look for ways to be surprised by our God and opportunities to wake one another up to the beauty, the power and the nearness of our loving, providing and protecting God. Let us also pray for a deepening of God’s gift of Faith within us, that we may be able to recognize Him in the ordinary situations of our lives, and humbly pray to Him saying, “Lord, let us see Your kindness, and grant us Your salvation.”
When the pastor started telling jokes during his sermons, the congregation was worried about his salvation. But he assured them he was just trying to bring a little "holy humor" into their lives.
A lost angel asked Saint Peter for directions to Heaven's gate. Peter replied, "Follow the clouds and take a left at the choir of singing cherubs."
At the church potluck, Sister Mary's casserole dish never seemed to empty, much like the loaves and fishes story. Everyone wondered if she had a secret recipe.
A couple decided to build a treehouse for their children, but it turned into a full-sized replica of Noah's Ark. Neighbors joked that they were just preparing for a rainy day.
Holy Water Mishap:
During a baptism, a baby giggled so much that the priest accidentally spilled some holy water. The baby's laughter echoed through the church, spreading joy to all.
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Dear People of God,
“Come with me”
I have been a member of Domus Dei Apostolic Society for 22 years; I have been ordained a priest for 13 years, serving in several places: Switzerland, Pensacola, Florida; Mobile, Alabama; I was assigned to archdiocese of Portland in 2009 -2015 as parochial parochial vicar at St. James, parish in McMinnville, OR, and later administrator and pastor at St. Mary Star of the Sea parish in Astoria, OR. I had an opportunity to serve in the northwest ministry. I have learned to serve Spanish, Native American parishes and Filipino community, being able to celebrate the Sacraments and preach in Spanish.
As I finished my term parish ministry, I returned to my mother house in New Orleans for year. Then in 2017 my assignment was in Switzerland. I was helping my superior's ministry in Switzerland but the immigration visa was too difficult to obtain, so I returned to New Orleans the end of 2018. My next assignment was to our farm in Hubbard, Texas, a property we bought over 3 years. Then I was asked to minister in the parish in Hubbard. Father superior introduced me to Dallas diocese last February 2019 while I was in charge of our farm operation near Hubbard, TX. So I had the opportunity to continue my ministry by helping local parishes, Immaculate Conception parish in Corsicana, and St. Joseph in Waxahachie, doing weekend ministry with some weekday obligations. I had great opportunity to be in contact with some priests from my class in the seminary.
Last January, I returned to New Orleans. My superior gave me opportunity to take sabbatical. I have planned to do some mission work reaching out to the poor. I have talked to my brother, Mr. Chau, who is the director of the group mission “come with me.” I would like to take this opportunity to help out the mission program. He introduced me to Ms Dianne, the editor of the program on website “Come with me.” We have been contact with each other about this project.
Now I have taken this opportunity to share with you my background so that we can join together around the world to make this mission “ Come with me” as “ mission impassible!” With the grace of God.
I specially thank you Mr. Chau, Dianne and many benefactors who open opportunity for me to serve God in poor people all over the whole world. May God bless you all and many others in building up God’s kingdom on earth.
Sincerely in the love of Christ,
Rev. John Hung Tran