Staying Focused on Jesus
By Jess Flores (ACTS Brother & CORE Team Member)
Greetings my dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, Happy 2021! May the peace of our New Born King be with each and one of you and your families. With 2020 finally behind us, I think we can all agree a fresh new start is in order. 2020 brought us many challenges that shook our faith and well-being to the core. From the “police brutality” we watched on TV, to the public unrest and looting in our own neighborhoods, to the COVID-19 pandemic, on to the controversial Presidential Election, to the division of families with the “stay at home” order, and even to the closing of our churches. All these things as tragic as they are, are nothing new. This is simply history repeating itself.
How are we handling it this time around? What have I done to stop spreading fear and to be the Light of Christ to those in need? What have you done? The comforting thing is, Jesus is and was always with us. He never went away or abandoned us (Dt. 31:6). It may have seemed like it at times, but that’s only when WE moved away from Him. We, as Catholic Christians, can’t just sit around and complain, hide in our homes, or point
the finger and play the “blame game.” We all can and MUST do something. Doing nothing cannot be an option.
First and foremost, we must not separate ourselves and our families from Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit. This is the time in which we must remain more focused than ever. It’s during these storms in our lives that we must stay in the boat, drop to our knees, and pray, pray, pray. I heard Fr. Bob say at Holy Mass last Sunday, “Stop trying to pray harder, but rather
pray with more focus.” I thought that was a brilliant concept, as simple as it is. Pray with increased focus. He also added not to let our prayers just be pretty words. Jesus gave us many examples of this when He dealt with His own decisions or difficulties that He was about to endure (Luke 22:42). Jesus always entrusted himself completely, not half-heartedly, but COMPLETELY to His Father’s care, as we all should. And I know, we all know, how difficult this can be.
“….Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven….”
Second, we must take the lead of our families’ spiritual well-being, not later, but now! If you can’t get out, make a phone call, write a letter or an email, send a text, but STAY CONNECTED. The liar wants nothing more than for us to be divided and separated from Jesus. See, it’s easier for him to take us out one by one, than when we are united in Christ. Pray as a family, parents bless your children, spouses bless each other, always bless yourselves before going to bed, waking up, and when you leave your home. This is a must, not to mention the basics. Sisters and Brothers, the Spiritual Battle over our souls is alive and kicking, IT IS REAL! Put on the Armor of God! (Eph. 6:10-18). We can’t fight and stand firm alone. Missing Holy Mass under our current circumstances is unacceptable! There I said it, LOL! A
dispensation has been made that allows those at risk to fulfill their Holy Obligation by watching it on TV. All others should be attending. So, no more excuses, LOL!! Seriously though, please don’t get accustomed to this practice as it is only meant as a temporary solution. Nothing compares to receiving the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy
Finally, please DO NOT live in fear! We are Roman Catholic Christians! Children of God! We are called to be joyful people and people filled with hope! Right!? As Holy Scripture states: “For if God is with us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31) Although this does not mean that we should live our lives carelessly or put others in harm’s way, but to use our God given brains to make good decisions. We were all given the same dose of the Holy Spirit at our Baptism. Are you helping to spread the Spirit and Light of Christ to all those around you? Especially those in need? Remember, someone has to, why not you?
Love & Joy,