January 22nd – III Sunday in Ordinary Time

My Dear Friends,

“Here I Am, Lord!” 

The words to this song that we have all heard always pull on our heartstrings.  Last week, we heard those words in the responsorial psalm. They are the words of a servant that is open, ready, and eager to do God’s will.  Those words have special meaning for me because I kept repeating the refrain of that song 30 years ago when I made the decision to enter seminary and pursue a vocation to the priesthood.  As follower of Jesus Christ, we always have to model our lives after his and follow the divine will of our Heavenly Father. 

In today’s gospel, Christ calls the first disciples to follow him.  The hearts of these men were so moved that they left everything behind to follow the Lord.  We must do the same.  We must be willing to lay down our lives for the Lord and for our brothers and sisters especially those most in need. 

Today is ABCD Sunday here in our parish as we respond to the call of the Lord and the invitation of our archbishop to take care of the poor in our community.  Last year, your response was overwhelming, and we surpassed our goal.  The parishioners of the Church of the Little Flower always come through when it comes to being generous, so I know that we will surpass our goal again.  Allow me to share with you the words of Archbishop Wenski for this year’s ABCD campaign: 

Jesus left a beautiful legacy of love- a unifying love.  It is one of the greatest gifts he has given us, and our faith calls us to live out that love by sharing it with others.  His love is kind and patient; it is enduring through difficult times and rejoices in the truth.  The love we are called to live is not found in career success or material things, but rather is centered on Jesus, and living out his legacy by helping others and holding them in our hearts, as He did. 

For the past 65 years, the Archdiocese of Miami has been bringing the love of Christ to people – no matter who they are or where they live.  That has been made possible, in part, because of people like you.  Through the Archbishop’s Charities and Development Drive, the ABCD, you help the church bring the gift of God’s love to those most in need- above and beyond what happens in your parish. The good works that ABCD makes possible are a testimony to our faith, our love, and our compassion.  

So, I ask you: what will your legacy be?  What are you doing now that will be remembered?  What impact are you making on others? Those who leave a lasting legacy are those that follow the two most important commandments: Love God with all your heart and love others as yourself.   

It is not enough to say we are Christians: we must live the faith, not only with our words, but with our actions. I invite you to join me in giving the gift of hope – a genuine act of love – by opening your hearts in support of the ABCD and donate today.  Every gift makes a difference and changes lives.   

I echo Archbishop Wenski’s words by inviting you to make your pledge to this year’s ABCD today.  This parish has left a lasting legacy for so many in the Archdiocese of Miami.  May we continue this tradition of giving by helping the poorest among us. 

 God bless you all,

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