From Our Associate Pastor
I love today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles. The Hellenists complained to the Hebrews that their widows were being neglected in the distribution of resources. There seemed to be favoritism by the Hebrews since they still spoke the original language of Judaism instead of Greek (Hellas is another word for Greece). The Twelve Apostles, in their wisdom, appointed seven men from the Hellenist group to be in charge of the distribution, so that the apostles can “devote themselves to prayer and ministry of the word.”
Only someone with a big heart can do such a thing. They were letting a group that was different from them be in charge of resources, which most likely included money. They did not let culture or language become a barrier that divides the early church. They believed that they were all children of the same God.
I love this passage because I see it as extremely relevant to our parish. We have been blessed with so many cultures, languages, ethnicities, and national origins among our parishioners. Yet it has also been a challenge. There is a natural tendency to want to stay with a group that is more similar to us, where we feel most comfortable. We might even want to divide the pastoral team, as in one priest is in charge of one community, and the other one in charge of another.
Doing that would certainly make things much easier, but that is not community. That is not family. That is not God’s church.
I would like to applaud our Cultural Diversity Ministry which has worked very hard to create bridges between the different cultural groups in our parish. Their annual Multicultural Stations of the Cross is just one great example. They also hold Friendship Café’s, covering different cultural topics as a way for us to know each other’s culture. This Pentecost, May 28, we will combine the 10 am and 12 pm masses so that we can have one big celebration at 11 am, in the spirit of that first Pentecost when people from various nations received the Holy Spirit and were able to understand one another.
My deepest gratitude also to all of you who have been brave enough to go outside your comfort zone, by attending liturgies that are bilingual or even multilingual, or that are done in a culture that is different than what you are used to. Thank you to our Filipino, Hispanic, and Samoan communities that have opened their doors for others to experience their cultures.
Let us continue to strengthen our unity as a community. Let not our differences separate us, but let them enrich our faith experience instead. For us Catholics, our motto should not be “separate but equal”, but “unity in diversity.”
Peace, Fr. Sam Nasada, OFM
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