I am excited to let you know that guided by the Holy Spirit, I made a good decision to continue my education. Past few years have been good learning years of being a pastor. Yet, I strongly feel I need to be a better one. So, I am pursuing “Master’s in Ecclesial Administration and Management” from Catholic University, Washington D.C. From August 4th to 10th I will be at Catholic University for on Campus Classes and the rest is online program. Please keep me in your prayers as I keep you all in my prayers. I will be staying across the street from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. You know, I will be visiting the shrine several times during the week and I promise to take you and your families and your intentions with me to the Mother of Our Lord.

Friends, the Sunday Scripture readings call us to do some reflecting on the way we live as a baptized follower of Jesus.

St. Paul reminds us that we have been given a share in the life of Jesus by our baptism. We are called to focus our way of living our daily life in a new way – a way that is influenced by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. As Jesus has told us: the only thing that gives our life here on earth ultimate value is remembering that life is a gift of God and it is given to us to lead us to eternal life with God.

With that perspective in mind, we can appreciate the viewpoint of Qoheleth in today’s first reading: “All things in this life are vanity” – a mere breath, a vapor – transient and ultimately empty. All the hard work and worry we may put into accumulating things here on earth – what will it ultimately matter when we come to die? The Lord isn’t going to ask us: “How much did you make during your life?”

He will ask us: “How much did you love?”

And our willingness to love flows from the new life given to us in baptism. Because we share the life of God, we are able to love as God loves. If we choose to live and love in this manner, then the way we live will be different from the way those live whose only concern is this world and all it has to offer.

In order to live and love as God does, we will have to learn to discipline our choices to follow the lead of grace. And grace will call us to rise above evil desires, passion, lust and uncleanness. Lying has no part in anyone who genuinely loves. Neither does prejudice nor discrimination. Love is about treating everyone with dignity and respect – as brothers and sisters who are the image of the Creator.

All of us can benefit from some prayerful reflection on today’s word from our God. May our reflection lead us to grow in knowledge and grace. May we be formed anew each day in the image of our Creator. Then our daily living will help us to grow rich in the sight of God and bring us ultimately to share his life forever.