AS we progress through the Easter Season we hear many readings from the Acts of the Apostles describing the evangelization of the Jewish community immediately following the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles at Pentecost.  The core message they preached was that the crucified Christ was the long-awaited for Messiah and He brought to the world the message of the ‘new covenant’ which was not based on the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament.  The new covenant was based on the fundamental message of love, not a strict adherence to the Law.  Christ made it clear, that God so loved the world that He sent His Only Son to redeem mankind and restore to him, the potential for eternity in heaven.  In John’s Gospel we read in Chapter 14: “If you love me keep my commandments…and He that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves.”  (Jn 14:15, 21)

The first and greatest commandment is to love God above all things, with all our heart, soul and mind and the second is like it, and love our neighbor as ourselves.  Pope Francis in one of his Sunday audiences said this: “When Jesus replied to the Pharisees in answer to this question, he did something new by putting together these commandments, revealing that they are inseparable and complimentary, they are two sides of the same coin.  You cannot love God without loving your neighbor and you can’t love your neighbor without loving God.  So how do we translate all this to our day-to-day life?  We know that we will be judged by how well we practiced the works of mercy – all of which are directed to our ‘neighbor’ “Whatever you did for one of these, the least of my children, you did to ME.” (Mt 25:40)  Ask yourself, how am I living in a way to further the fulfillment of our parish mission: “Building a Church of missionary disciples in Grapevine, TX by preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and reaching the poor.”?  What are you doing daily to carry out your part in this mission?  Our Outreach Center is one means we have to reach the poor – do you support it in any way with time, talent or treasure?  Our ministries to those who are sick and homebound are other means to practice the works of mercy – do you support them in any way with time, talent or treasure?  Dropping money into a collection basket is a worthy act and I encourage you to do that as often as you are able, and together with that action I also implore you to find some time to give to those who need our support by our presence to them, personally involving yourself with another who needs help…who need your love.

Thank you for all you do to further the growth and spiritual life of St. Francis of Assisi.  Continue to pray for the clergy as we do for you each day.  God’s blessings!

Pastor’s Points is a bi-weekly feature about faith, family, and life, from our pastor, Father James Flynn. It is published in our parish bulletins, as well.