They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!” And they took offense at Him.

Today we encounter Jesus getting a lot of push back. His hometown people hated Him. Jesus was so offensive to them that they revolted. The text of our Opening Hymn came to life:  Ah! sinful nation, people laden with wickedness, evil race, corrupt children! They have forsaken the Lord, spurned the Holy One of Israel, apostatized. If you abandon Him, He will abandon you.

And, that is what Jesus did, He left them because of their lack of faith and trust. It was beyond His power to move their hearts because they refused His grace, they rejected the love of God and God’s gifts placed before them.

This experience of Jesus is much like our own, isn’t it? His experience tells us something about ourselves and what we can do in the face of push back. It is Jesus’ revelation of our likeness to Him and a call to His service even when we are faced with challenges.

We have many gifts. We are not really different from Jesus because we share in His gifts and in our ability to use them for the Kingdom. He calls us to grow our gifts through faith, trust, and confidence in Him and He lets us know that if we are part of His life, if we are with and in Him, He has us, is with us, and in us.

Jesus knows all the gifts we have. God, through the Holy Spirit, fills each of us with the gifts He wants us to have, those that will best build His Kingdom. God’s gifts are never pointless. Some gifts we hold in common; some are unique to each of us. Some of the gifts we have are fully present in us right now and others will emerge in the future, in God’s time and according to His plan.

For our part we must be open to using the gifts God has given us for His glory and praise. We must do that in practical ways that build His Kingdom.

Some of those practical ways are giving God the credit for the gifts people see in us, our talents and intellect, our smile and joy, our seriousness and concern, our charity and compassion. We are to call people into the Kingdom and bring them into the Church. We are to show them the way to life by our witness to our friends, parents, and relatives. We are to accept Jesus and all the gifts He offers. We are to let people know we said yes to Jesus, yes to His grace.

Like Jesus, we will get ignored, people will push back. It is not that they do not see our gifts, but their sin corrupts their view of the gifts we offer and Who and what we work for. That push back doesn’t really matter because in the end, like Jesus, we will have victory! In the end the Kingdom will be built through our gifts.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus begins with the Beatitudes. In the ninth Beatitude above, Jesus continues by saying those insulted because of Him will “Rejoice and be glad, because great is [their] reward in heaven.”

At this year’s Men’s Spiritual Retreat we erected a huge “Cross on Kicker Hill.” Some members of our Polish National Catholic Church may remember the term “Kicker.” That, along with the words “warcholy” (brawlers and sowers of discord), ‘heretics, unbelievers, and masons’ were used by Roman Catholics to denigrate members of the Church. In some places these words are still used. The rhyme thrown at us was: “Ringer, ringer, ring that bell. Kicker, kicker, go to hell.” 

Members of the Church had to choose their response. Would they return insult for insult or act in accord with Jesus’ gospel way of life? They chose to act as Jesus commanded. The Solemnity of Brotherly Love was instituted in 1906 to counteract these acts of hatred. At various gatherings of the Church and Its Societies banners stating: “Bóg z nami — Kto przeciw nam?” “God is for us — Who will stand against us?” were on display.

The Cross on Kicker Hill is a paradigm for building and the future.

As a Church and as a parish, our focus must remain on growth, building the Kingdom of God here and right now. This is done through our presence as a sanctuary of peace and security for anyone wishing to pray. It occurs through our individual acts of evangelization, bringing family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers into the family of God. It is in how we love and care for all we come into contact with. It is who we are – builders.

You may have heard of other Churches closing – Baltimore, Buffalo, and likely soon in the R.C. Diocese of Albany; nearly 50% of parishes closing. We must be prepared, going forward, as a place of refuge and welcome and a sure symbol of God’s Kingdom being built right here. Rejoice! Be glad!

Welcome to our July/August 2024 Newsletter. we had a wonderful June including a very special Men’s Spiritual Retreat. Read the report. Ready for County Fair season? We will be at the Altamont Fair this year. Sign up and volunteer to help. We begin recognizing those who have graduated. Stay tuned for more. Summer events are underway so mark your calendars. Join us at Spójnia Farm for its 95th Anniversary and the blessing of the new Great Hall on the 4th of July. We start with Holy Mass at 11am. We have made great progress in establishing a Food Bank at the parish. Check out the details. See the list of great articles on relationship, marriage, and parenting. Fantastic offers from the PNA continue (IRAs, insurance, and annuities). All this and more in our July/August 2024 Newsletter.