As August marks the start-up of school for the children and the teens of our diocese, it can be a time for new beginnings….for all of us.

Yeshua…Jesus of Nazareth…..spoke about new beginnings......starting life over in God’s love.

When the devout and scholarly Pharisee Nicodemus asked Jesus about his message, his teaching, Jesus replied, “No one can see the Kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus didn’t get it, exactly…How can a person once grown old be born again (John 3. 3-4)? How indeed?

In his Apostolic Exhortation The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis writes, “I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least openness to letting him encounter them.”

The devout scholar Nicodemus wanted to understand the way Yeshua understood the Law of God, the plan of God. Jesus longed to offer him instead an encounter… being with the Son, the revelation of the Father’s love…the human face that imaged the Invisible God.

In The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis writes, "I never tire of repeating those words of Benedict XVI which takes us to the heart of the Gospel. Benedict teaches us that being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction."

The Catholic Church is a communion of many communities…and our “work” is this encounter, a personal relationship with Christ the Lord WHO LIVES in the majesty of the Trinity.

We encounter Him…in His Word (praying the scriptures through the Spirit), in and through the gift of His Sacraments, in and through the community of the Church, His Body on this good earth…in the silence of our hearts, where the Spirit longs to speak His word of mercy to each of us….in the poor and discarded and marginalized, who as St. Teresa of Calcutta reminds us….manifest the Lord.

I urge each of you to read The Joy of the Gospel…and as our children and teens begin again their education in school….let each of us enter the school of charity and service…where Christ the Lord awaits us….the Vine of Life…longing to “re-connect” with each branch….that all may bear much fruit.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
(For The Greater Glory of God)