Pastor’s Weekly Message 7-2-23

Dear Friend of Carmel Mission,
Jesus begins today’s Gospel passage with a startling statement. Jesus was a master of hyperbole and used shocking, or at least initially shocking, statements to get the attention of His followers and invite them to really hear, and then explore, His teachings. Jesus came to revolutionize humanity’s relationship with God and change the course of human history. He had neither the time nor the inclination to mince words.
 Jesus never says we are not to love our families, only that we are to love Him more. Indeed, the great love we have for our parents or our children can be a barometer for how much greater our love for God must be, and also how much greater God’s love is for us. Jesus also never minimizes the sacrifices that will be required to follow Him. He knows that to succeed, His disciples must prioritize their faith over everything. They must be willing to take up their cross, not sit on the sidelines because it is too heavy to carry. They have to be willing to lose their lives in order to gain both eternal life in heaven, and the purpose driven life of mission and discipleship.
This weekend we celebrate one follower of Christ who embraced the joys, sorrows and travails of discipleship with open arms- our founder and first pastor, St. Junipero Serra. St. Junipero left behind the comfort and security of his life in Mallorca to bring the good news of God’s love to a New World. He left his family, whom he loved, because he loved God more, and he was on fire to share that love. When he arrived, first in Mexico, then eventually in California and here to our Central Coast, he endeavored to help those hearing the Good News understand that they were loved by God, and by him. They were his family, his brothers and sisters in Christ.
St. Junipero picked up his crosses to follow Christ. The crosses we know of, the difficulty of the conditions, his own physical ailments, and the ones we can only imagine, the crosses of doubt and fear. It was love, his love for God and God’s people and his faith in God’s love for him, that allowed him to accomplish so much in his life of evangelization and discipleship. May our community continue to follow in his footsteps – always forward, never back.
I wish you and your loved ones blessings of good health, great peace, and true zeal for sharing God’s love,

Fr. Paul

Please take a moment to read our Carmel Mission Weekly Bulletin.

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