Following the Christmas and New Year break, I have been mindful of those parishioners returning to work environments where their faith is continually challenged or tested and also those who face another year managing difficult relationships.
It is not easy to hold onto our Christian principles amidst environments that are counter-Christian or even toxic. Many of you live your faith at the coalface, where gossip, slander and belittling is the norm and injustices prevail, and can probably really relate to Peter in this week’s gospel. When Jesus asked him to return to the deep waters where he had been working all night with no reward, I imagine Peter’s internal response might well have been “You’re kidding?! I KNOW these circumstances. I’ve been out there working hard and there’s no point in trying anymore!” If that’s how you feel looking at either your circumstances or relationships that surround you – take heart! You are in good company. Peter said ‘yes’ to Jesus despite what his logic told him, and God worked a miracle. When you come to Mass on Sundays, may you intentionally open yourself to receive all that God has for you during our Eucharistic service, so that as you leave, Jesus sustains you in the week ahead, giving you the ability to be the 5th Gospel to those who might not read the other four. Remember to talk to Him about what you are dealing with and ask for Him to give you wisdom.
For those parishioners who are blessed to currently have less tumultuous relationships or circumstances, maybe you could set aside time to pray for those parishioners who really need your support – those you know and those you don’t. Together we want to take God’s light from our Masses out to God’s people of Christchurch and we are more effective at doing that when we stand together and support each other. Together we are strong. May we be a people that together has a desire to say “Here I am Lord, send me”.
Parish Pastoral Worker