Friars Corner: Bring parishes alive with the Fire of Jesus’ love

Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR

Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR

Jonah 3:1-5,10; Ps 25:4-9; 1 Corinthians 7:25-31; Mark 1:14-20

At the beginning of Jesus’ public life, he invited four professional fishermen to be involved in his new kingdom. Like Jonah’s preaching in the city of Nineveh. his call was to turn from their old sinful ways of life, ”repent or within 40 days or Nineveh will be destroyed.” They were called to turn to God’s plan for a new life. They did repent and were saved.

Did all the natural disasters of the last year say anything to us? Where are we headed personally and as a nation? The prophets, John the Baptist and Jesus preached repentance and gaining a new life in God.

In today’s section of John’s gospel, Jesus called Andrew and Simon to be “fishers of men,” not fish. Next he called John and his brother James. We are here because thousands over the last two thousands years have answered God’s call and were empowered to spread Christ’s good news across the world. Amen, alleluia!

Fire Groups

One way to help God fill up our parishes is to help nurture and intensify the love that some parishioners have for Jesus. These are usually a small number who go to daily Mass. I hear Jesus asking us to encourage those who already know and love Jesus, by gathering in small groups outside of Mass time to praise and worship Jesus.

As I wrote last week, ask your pastor’s permission, then encourage your spouse, parents and children, or a few friends to spend about 15 minutes praising Jesus several times a week with songs you already know. Then sing some praise and worship Christmas Carols, guided by the Holy Spirit. Jesus is promising to fill your hearts with more of his love. This love of God will make you glow with more of his love and light.

Ignite Jesus’ love

Through you, Jesus will ignite his love in others and they will come back into the church and draw others into the church. Many people are hungry for God’s love but don’t realize it or know where to find it. The church will grow and the pews will fill up.

As I drove to Pittsburgh, PA, last Wednesday for a priests meeting, I was listening to the carol, “O Holy Night,” sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was so beautiful as I sang it with the angels around me that I began to weep with joy. Then I was singing other worship carols. What a delight. I found myself changing some words of the hymn like, night to day. It is not the night stars shining but the radiant Son of God, Jesus Christ, shining brightly, the true light of the world.” I am still singing and listening to more worship carols.

Jesus wants to draw you closer to his heart and fill yours up with more of his love so you burn brighter for him. Try it, you’ll be delighted. If you have some questions email me at:

Have a blessed week glowing with his love,

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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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