A WORD FROM THE PASTOR
Yakov Smirnoff is a Soviet born American Comedian. When he first came to the U.S. from Russia in 1977, he was amazed by the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores. He said, "On my first shopping trip with my friend, I saw milk powder; you just add hot water, and you get milk. Then I saw orange powder; you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I thought to myself, 'what a country, you add water to a tin of powder and get a baby!'"
Smirnoff was joking, but many non-Catholic Christian denominations make these assumptions seriously about instant Christian transformation leading to eternal salvation. According to this belief, when someone surrenders his or her life to Christ, accepts him as his or her personal God and Savior and confesses his or her sins to him there is an immediate, substantive, in-depth, miraculous change in habits, attitudes, and character and he or she becomes a Christian, eligible for eternal salvation.
Unfortunately, there is no such Christian powder and disciples of Jesus Christ are not instantly born. They are slowly raised through many trials, suffering, and temptations. They are saved by their faithful and lifelong cooperation with the grace of God given for doing good and avoiding evil.
Through our faithful efforts in following his teachings, Jesus becomes a living, present reality for us, loving us, forgiving us, helping us, transforming our lives and building a personal relationship with us. The relationship deepens and grows as we listen to him through daily, meditative reading of the Bible, speak to him in our daily, personal and family prayers, offer him our lives on the altar in the Holy Mass and get reconciled with him, asking his forgiveness for our sins every night.
Obtaining salvation offered by Jesus is not like baby powder sold in the grocery stores; it is not instant Christian powder; it is not a one-day or one- time effort or affair; it is a lifelong process. We experience salvation in every moment of our relationship with him and the fullness of salvation at his second coming.
Jesus is the Lamb of God who has taken away the sins of the world. How do we show our gratitude for his sacrifice today? How can we imitate him?
In the Service of the Lord,
Father Thainese Alphonse