The Catholic Community  of St. John Neumann
A Christian Church of the Catholic Tradition
Califon, NJ

Pastor's weekly Writing


Dear Friends,
     How do we deal with popular misunderstandings and misperceptions? For instance the myth that Friday the 13 is an unlucky day! It is only once or twice a year that Friday the 13th occurs in the calendar. If you are a superstitious person, you would have noticed that last Friday was one such! Is there any truth to it as many people consider it a day when bad things can happen? NO! I remember my driver’s test was scheduled on a Friday 13th in January many years ago. The Parish Secretary told me to reschedule it for another date as she was very sure that Friday 13th was totally an inauspicious day for my test. I refused. And I passed the test! So for me, Friday the 13th is a lucky day!! After all, Friday is TGIF!! Ancient Mayans of Central America were the most advanced culture in all of the Americas. They considered the number 13 sacred. It is heartening to see today a sizable number of optimists who embrace Friday the 13th and the number 13. They shrug off the superstition and buy lottery tickets with the number 13 in it.
     Similarly, some people think that God “stuff” is the prerogative of priests, nuns, deacons and other church leaders who are “called” by God. Today’s scripture readings unmistakably correct that view. Amos was not a priest, but simply a farmer, an ordinary man living in a small town a few miles south of Bethlehem. That sounds a lot like us – simple ordinary men and women - and yet God called Amos to deliver a very important message to the people of Israel.  Perhaps the most amazing part of Amos’ story is not his message, but that he simply listened and obeyed.  He didn’t come up with a list of excuses or reasons why he was not the right man for the job.  He simply responded to God’s call with courage and faith. Jesus chose very ordinary men and sent them to spread His good news to all. The disciples, all simple ordinary men, grasped this truth and were able to share the good news of Jesus with power and effectiveness well beyond anything they could ever have imagined.  God used each of them just like He has planned to use each of us. That’s why the Church teaches us clearly that sharing good news is not to be left to priests, nuns, deacons and other church leaders, because all of us are called by God to proclaim God’s mission. Yes, we are ministers. 
     Last two Sundays, during the 10:30 Mass,  we heard the testimonies of our youth who went for service projects. I wish the whole community could hear their testimonies. Hence in today’s bulletin you can read what Caroline Pietri of our parish shared about her impressions and insights from the Catholic Heart WorkCamp she attended in Cumberland, MD. Next Sunday, we can read about the experience of Jessica Brynildsen who went to Malawi, Africa.
     As I have made it clear many times, we can respond to the call of Jesus by simply speaking about the good things we appreciate about our parish. Speak about the positive experience you have after a Sunday celebration, or after enjoying a parish event or program. Then invite someone to our Sunday worship or to attend any of our many parish events. You have already become a missionary for Jesus.
     Not convinced? Then take the “14DayPrayerChallenge” below and the good Lord will give you the grace to respond to His call to be a missionary, to be an evangelizer to our own people. Remember our slogan, “Every member a minister.”

                                                                                            Your brother in Christ,

                                                                                            Fr. Abraham Orapankal