16th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Dear  Friends,

An unknown writer has said: “Summer is when Hair gets lighter. Skin gets darker. Water gets warmer. Drinks get colder. Music gets louder. Nights get longer. Life gets better.” Is your summer any or all of these and more? No matter what the answer, summer is a time of relaxation to be refreshed and rejuvenated in mind, body and spirit. If human nature is a yardstick, I think, many people will focus on the body; less will focus on the mind; and even less will focus on the spirit. The real challenge is to have a balance in all three areas of our life.

Last weekend I had a weekend getaway for officiating a destination wedding in the Dominican Republic. This coming weekend, God willing, I will be in Kerala, India, with my mother and family. As you know, I could not go home for my father’s funeral nor for his first death anniversary. So, this is a bit overwhelming emotionally while the joy of seeing my mother and the rest of my siblings and the extended family is something I am looking forward to. I am happy that Msgr. Seamus Brennan will be in charge of the parish in my absence and am truly grateful to him for all his services and ministry to us all.

During my last weekend trip, I was able to read two short but excellent books as well as plan for the bulletin materials for the coming few Sundays. The first was an Apostolic Letter that Pope Francis published a few weeks ago “On the Liturgical Formation of the People of God.” In this Letter, the Pope said he wanted “to invite the whole Church to rediscover, to safeguard, and to live the truth and power of the Christian celebration. … I want the beauty of the Christian celebration and its necessary consequences for the life of the Church not to be spoiled by a superficial and foreshortened understanding of its value or, worse yet, by its being exploited in service of some ideological vision, no matter what the hue. …. Let us abandon our polemics to listen together to what the Spirit is saying to the Church. Let us safeguard our communion. Let us continue to be astonished at the beauty of the Liturgy.”

The Pope asked a question a couple of times in this document: “how can we grow in our capacity to live in full the liturgical action? How do we continue to let ourselves be amazed at what happens in the celebration under our very eyes?” To me, these are very serious words that should make us rethink the impact our liturgical celebration can have for us, and in a special way, for our young people. This is a matter that we all are concerned about: how do we make sure that our younger generation will joyfully receive and proudly practice our faith? We need to continue to have more discussions on this with all segments of our parish community.

The second is “Holy Moments” – Matthew Kelly’s latest book. He looks at the human question, ‘Why do you crave more?’ And his answer is: ‘Because God made you for more.’ The author inspires us to make a difference in our life and in the life of those around us. I started reading this simple book at the airport and completed it in the flight. More about it later.

Have a good and relaxing summer. Be enriched in mind, body and soul!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal