Growing in Community

December 9, 2018

We have collected almost $40,000 for the Christmas Homeless Backpacks drive this year. Thank you so much for your generosity.

Please join the Committee for the Poor as we assemble backpacks this Sunday in the Parish Center. Each year, the time it takes to assemble the backpacks has decreased because of the participation of so many parishioners. I love seeing so many smiling faces enthusiastically assembling those bags. Thank you for giving your time and treasure for this wonderful project.

I also want to thank you for your contribution to the Together in Mission appeal, which supports parishes and schools throughout the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. We are only a few hundred dollars away from meeting this year’s goal. (We did not meet last year’s goal.) I am very grateful for your generosity in supporting our less fortunate brothers and sisters.

SMT has officially launched the ALPHA program. This program is designed to bring people together: practicing and non-practicing, the churched and the un-churched, to discuss, to share, and to grow in faith. One important aspect of our faith that we tend to overlook is communal. Ultimately, we individually decide whether we personally want to grow in faith, but the “community of faith” plays an important and decisive role in leading and supporting that growth. We cannot grow in faith on our own. A believer must belong to a community of faith and be an active participant.

John Cassian, known as the Father of monasticism to the West, told a story in his famous “Conferences,” Book 2, about a hermit who adamantly practiced virtues in the desert – alone by himself. Once a year all the hermits in the desert would gather for a simple celebration but this monk would not participate. After many years of solitude, the monk came to believe that he was so holy that he possessed the power to fly. He went to a cliff to demonstrate his “holy gift” from God and jumped, plunging to his death. Since that time, all monks are required to live in a community. No more hermits!

Jesus’ promise tells us of the importance of the communal dimension of faith: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt 18:20). Jesus’ communal meal with the apostles, the Last Supper, in which he breaks bread and wine, his Body and Blood, is a remembrance of God’s new covenant, and that in gathering in His name, He is present in our midst.

May God open our hearts to embrace others in our community. May our hearts see the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise.

Kathryn Richards