Dear Parishioners of Our Lady of La Vang Church,TLast Saturday, on August 23, our Bishop of Orange, Kevin Vann had visited our parish to join us in our Marian Procession, and to preside over our thanksgiving Mass in honor of our patroness, as well as to celebrate the 8th Anniversary of the Dedication of our Church. Bishop Vann was so pleased to see such a good turnout and participation in both the procession and mass celebration! Together with Father Bao Thai, we are very grateful to all of you for your solemn participation in the procession and mass celebration, and for your love, prayer and generosity to our parish. Tomorrow, Monday, September 1, 2014 is our parish picnic at Mile Square Park from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Location will be off Edinger Avenue near Euclid Street – look for sign postings at the picnic site. At the conclusion of the picnic, we will have the drawing of the summer raffle tickets. I hope that you all will join in for the multicultural food, fun and games, and to meet new friends in our parish family!
The readings for this Sunday remind us that Christian discipleship demands self-control (“deny yourself”), the willingness to suffer (“take up your cross”), generosity (“to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God”), and readiness to follow Jesus by obeying his commandment of love. Today’s readings explain how this Christian mission should be accomplished. Jeremiah, in the first reading, is certainly a prototype of the suffering Christ. In the responsorial psalm (Ps 20: 11-13), the psalmist manifests his profound trust in God, just as Jeremiah himself does. In the second reading, Paul advises the Romans and us (Rom 12:1-2): to “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice” to God by explicitly rejecting the ungodly behavior of the world around us and by discerning and doing the will of God. In today’s Gospel, Jesus takes his disciples by surprise when, after Peter's great confession of faith, Jesus announces that he “must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised." After rebuking Peter’s protest against Jesus’s physical sufferings, Jesus announces the three conditions of discipleship, for one to: “deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
Through the readings this week, we are called to follow Jesus in special ways: (to be compassionate and) visit the sick in homes and in hospitals, especially AIDS and cancer patients; (to be humble and) be able to see that every good gift comes from God alone, and that His gifts to us of personal talents and resources should inspire gratitude, not pride; (to be patient and) commit to working with challenging children, adolescents with problems, young adults who are struggling with their faith, with the intellectually challenged and with those suffering dementia; (to be forgiving and) know that God forgives us unconditionally; (to be loving and) willingly visit people in prisons, in retirement homes, and in homeless shelters; (to be faithful and) live out a committed, trusting relationship with God, with spouse, with family and friends. In short: to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and to follow Jesus, we should thank God that we may faithfully follow Him to the end.
Your humble servant in the Lord our Good Shepherd and Our Lady of La Vang
Reverend Joseph Luan Nguyen - Pastor