Dear Parishioners of Our Lady of La Vang Church,This week, the Catechetical programs begin at our parish with the Vietnamese, Hispanic, and English programs. Fittingly, the Church also celebrates Catechetical Sunday today, and invites us to reflect on the meaning of teaching Catechism to our children. Since the faith education for our children is so important, the Church wants us all to pray for our religious sisters and brothers, catechists and volunteers. We wish to thank our dear nuns, instructors, leaders, and volunteers for the time you have and will put in to handing on the faith to our children. I hope that the parents will continue to bring your children to catechism classes and mass on Sunday. In another matter, as you may have noticed, our temporary Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang is getting old, and without repair, it will inevitably collapse. Our parish will have a renovation for the Shrine and this project is estimated to cost $10,000. Our parish is asking for your generous contributions in any amount to help with this project, and if you would like to make a tax-deductible donation of $500 or more, please contact the office. For our Catechism children, I wish all of you a new school year with God’s wisdom, peace and joy as you learn about the Church and the Life of Jesus.
Today’s readings are all about the sense of justice and the extravagant grace of a merciful God. While God is both just and merciful, God’s mercy often overrides His justice and, hence, God pardons us unconditionally and rewards us generously by opening Heaven for the Gentiles and the Jews.
In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah reminds the exiles in Babylon that their God is more merciful than they are, and more forgiving. He is ready to pardon their infidelity which had resulted in their exile. Their merciful God will bless them with material and spiritual blessings. So Isaiah exhorts them, and us, to seek the Lord and to put aside evil ways in order to receive mercy and forgiveness from God. Today’s responsorial psalm reminds us that, although “the Lord is just in all His ways,” He is at the same time gracious “and merciful.” In the second reading, Paul offers himself as an example of total submission to God’s grace and God’s will. He is ready to live continuing his mission if that is God’s will. At the same time he is ready to die and join the Lord if that is God’s will. In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us the strange parable of a landowner who hired laborers at five different times during the course of one day to work in his vineyard but paid the same living wage for a full day’s work to all of them. This story of the landlord's love and generosity represents God’s love and generosity, which is distributed evenly to everyone. It illustrates the difference between God's perspective and ours. Additionally, God's provisions for our spiritual lives will never run out, and when we share our blessings with others, we tap into the inexhaustible Divine supply. This story tells us how God looks at us, sees our needs and meets those needs generously and mercifully. The parable also shows the mercy and generosity of God in allowing the later Gentiles as well the first Jews, or the Chosen people, to enjoy the same eternal joy of His Heavenly Kingdom.
Sincerely yours in Jesus Christ and Our Lady of La Vang
Reverend Joseph Luan Nguyen - Pastor