With the celebration of Thanksgiving Day, we set our minds each year to remember the things for which we are thankful. I have been here in Grants Pass now for five months and I am ever so thankful for the love and support which you have shown me. Moving is always difficult, and getting used to a new situation and system of management can be challenging on all. I am thankful for the patience so many have shown me. I am thankful for the staff who have welcomed me with charity and have been adapting to a new style of pastoring. They are a wonderful group of people. As we begin this time of holidays, let us all be reminded of those things for which we are thankful.
The Offertory Program process is well underway. Thank you to all who participated by making a financial commitment to the parish. I think it was a great success. I believe in the Offertory Program, for it reminds us of the importance of our parish community amidst the variety of responsibilities we have in our lives. Furthermore, it brings to awareness our need to be Christ-like people who give of ourselves, that is from our whole selves and not just our left overs. I’ve truly appreciated the questions and charitable attitude most people have around this process. One common question has been, “How to get envelopes which I can use weekly at Mass?” Simply call the office and we will put you on our list to receive envelopes. It will take a while to get them the first time around, as the envelope company sends them out every other month. So, in the meantime, use the envelopes in the pews or come by the office and we can give you some starter envelopes.
Giving vs. Complaining
As Catholics, giving and thanks are essentials parts of who we are. In fact, the word Eucharist means thanksgiving. Giving is good. Haven’t you experienced that you get back more than you give? It’s a biblical principal (Luke 6:38). The happiest people are the greatest givers. The challenge is to not let the bad news in our lives extinguish the flame of love of good news in our lives. Remember that "God Loves a Cheerful Giver" (2 Cor. 9:7). Sometimes people complain due to an injustice. Others just complain because that is their overall attitude in life. I’m sure we all know someone who is a complainer. Those who love in miserly ways by complaining all the time miss out on the amazing love and graces that God has in store for them. Studies have shown that those who complain the most give the least.
Advent and the Challenges
As we begin this season of Advent, the commercialism of our society is turned up to full volume. Sometimes it can wear us down. But, don’t get trapped in the so-called obligations of the season nor recluse so that you don’t have to deal with the world. Instead, let Advent be a time of renewal and joy. Be someone of cheer for another. Do an act of random kindness. Seek out reconciliation with God and someone whom you’ve hurt. Spend time in prayer asking God to help keep the reason for the season in your heart. There is a simple principle that Jesus reminds us about: “Where your treasure is, there also will be your heart” (Matt. 6:21). What is your treasure? In this season of Advent, look where you want your heart to be and see if you have invested your treasure in that direction. Maybe some changes are needed. The mystery of the Incarnation for which we prepare challenges us to empty ourselves in imitation of Jesus. May this Advent bring renewal and joy to your life and that of your family.
Fr. William Holtzinger