Dear brothers and sisters,
We tend to take for granted St John the Baptist’s role in the story of Christ – we are so used to it that we can sometimes overlook its importance. We all know that God sent John the Baptist to announce Christ’s arrival. He sent him to prepare the way for the Lord, to get people ready to receive the gospel. However, when we pause and think about it, isn’t there something strange about this mission? Was it absolutely necessary to send a herald ahead of the Messiah? Wasn’t the Messiah capable enough to handle the job himself? Certainly he was. He didn’t actually need John the Baptist to pave the way for him; he consciously chose to do it that way. This choice, to send a forerunner, reveals something essential about our Lord’s personality: Jesus never forces his way into our lives. He is too polite to do that, too respectful of our freedom. He has very good manners. He refuses to conquer hearts by compulsion, to cause conversions by causing concussions. Instead, he acts gently, gradually. He prepares us for the special graces he has in store for us. He is always thinking of us, and he guides us through life little by little, just as he revealed the gospel little by little, first through John the Baptist, then by preaching and miracles, and finally through his passion and resurrection. The more generously we respond to the many messengers and signs he sends ahead of him, the more he will be able to do in us and through us. Even then, his grace warms our soul like sunlight: silently, gently, but surely. He uses such good manners for one simple reason: he doesn’t want us to be his slaves; he wants us to be his friends.
Many thanks to all the adults and volunteers – Analia, the parents, and student leaders – who helped once again with Vacation Bible School this past week. We had over 100 kids plus volunteers – it was a wild ride! May they all remember that Jesus our Savior rescues us from the “shipwrecks” of life. Thanks as well to Pocono Painting for their “facelift” of the church. After 28 years, the new paint job makes the church look brand new again! Also, recently we had new shelves put in the back sacristy behind the altar, and thanks as well to Jeff Seymour and Custom Home Improvements for their work. Thanks to Vinny, Cody, Lorraine, and her husband Chris for clearing out the back, throwing out a lot of junk that accumulated over the years, and helping to reorganize things.