Second Sunday of Lent - Annual Meeting - February 25, 2018
Bilingual Sermon Preached by the Rev. Daniel Velez Rivera
Lessons: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16, Psalm 22:22-30, Romans 4:13-25, Mark 8:31-38
The four lessons from Scripture that we heard this morning have a few common threads,
among them: faith, belief, and trust. In the past few weeks we have heard biblical stories about
Jesus calling on people to follow him. His divine majesty was made apparent as he healed
women and children, people known and unknown to him. He dazzled his disciples on
mountaintops and changed their lives with the promise of eternal life in exchange for their faith, belief, and trust.
In today’s gospel story Jesus foretells his future, a future that sounds like a disaster
waiting to happen. He told his disciples that he would suffer terribly, important people would
reject him, and that he would be killed. Yet after delivering the Good News, he invites the
disciples, the crowds and us, to follow him. To do so, he says that we must drop everything.
What does it take to follow Jesus?
Faith, belief, trust. In the book of Genesis, God told Abraham that he would make an
eternal covenant with him and his offspring, if he followed God. Abraham fell on his face as he
listened to God, in other words, he was dazzled and overwhelmed that God would consider
him and Sarah worthy to be his beloved.
In the books of Genesis and Mark we hear how the Lord summons us to follow him. The
path takes us on a journey leading to new life, but it requires faith, belief and trust. In the letter
to the Romans, Paul say that the promise of eternal life comes to all who share Abraham’s and
Sarah´s faith in the God who brings life where there is no life. Jesus promises resurrection so
that we can wear his love, grace, and compassion on our hearts. The path that Christ summons
us leads us from the bonds of darkness into light.
On this day of our Annual Meeting we remember and celebrate the journey of the past
year. I invite you to reflect on the threads of faith, belief, and trust that you have taken. What
does it take to follow Jesus? At times being overjoyed, tired, maybe pushed into something, or
inspired to simply follow. The Christian journey can be challenging, overwhelming, even
uncomfortable, but the outcome has been already promised: life eternal.
At last year’s annual meeting, we may not have been sure where God was leading St.
Gabriel’s. We had come from an uncertain financial time at the end of 2016. There was hope
however, hope that Christ would walk with us as we followed Him, and we walked. A year
later, and for those who have had the chance to read the Annual Report, you will see that our
commitment, compassion for others, and outward focus required faith, belief, and trust.
We are entering a time of wonderful possibilities. At the potluck and Annual Meeting,
you will learn about a bequest that was given a little over a month ago, a bequest that will
provide us a foundation with which to build a church. The annual reports will inform you that
in the past year we aligned our finances with our mission to worship God; for all of us to be
nourished by the Word – children and adults alike; and to look beyond ourselves through service and outreach ministries.
Following Jesus may sound like a crazy, consuming endeavor, it is. That is why Christ
asks for our faithfulness, our commitment to believe and our trust in Him. With Christ there is
life, we are witnesses of His abundance. Thank you for being such of faithful, believing and
trusting community; what an honor to be part of God’ mission here!