January 14, 2018

1-14-18

 

We are privileged today to welcome many individuals and groups to our 12:30 Mass who are preparing to join the March for Life Chicago at the Federal Plaza beginning at 2:00 P.M. People have come from all over the Midwest to come together in solidarity to pray, to listen to speakers, to march through the streets of the Loop and to publicly show their support for all aspects of the pro-life movement. This Chicago event is only one such gathering that is being replicated in major cities throughout the United States prior to the major March on Washington which will take place on Friday, January 19.

 

Marching in peace through the streets of Chicago, this is an annual public event composed of people from diverse ethnic, social and religious backgrounds dedicated to defending and protecting all human life. The goal is to serve as a visual and vocal reminder that the people of Chicago and the Midwest stand for LIFE. They come together to change perceptions in a society that thinks abortion is the answer. We call upon religious, civic and community leaders to renew every effort to build a nation and culture dedicated to protecting life at every stage and eliminating the violence of abortion. We also pray for the end of violence on our streets and in our neighborhoods by respecting each and every person’s dignity.

 

The following people will be speakers at Federal Plaza:

 

            --Master of Ceremonies: Sheila Liaugminus, Host of Relevant Radio talk show “A Closer Look”

            --Keynote: Ramona Trevino, Former Planned Parenthood Director, Author of “Redeemed by Grace”

            --His Eminence Cardinal Blasé J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago

            --His Excellency, Bishop Donald J. Hying, Bishop of Gary, Indiana

            --The Right Reverend Paul, Orthodox Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest

            --Pat McCaskey, Co-Owner of the Chicago Bears

            --Pastor Ed Stetzer, Interim Pastor, Moody Church in Chicago

            --Sarah Storto, Vice-President of Loyola Students for Life and Intern for Students for Life of Illinois

            --Other Speakers to be announced.

 

We hope that the weather will cooperate this year so that the crowd will not be too adversely affected by excessively bitter temperatures and snowy conditions. Last year I was so edified by the fact that several thousand people were present despite the outside situation. Even if you cannot join in the March this Sunday, we all can pray for its success and for the cause it upholds.

 

I also want to call your attention to another Mass for Life being celebrated at the Cathedral on Sunday, January 14, 2018, at 11:00 A.M. presided by Cardinal Blasé Cupich. People will be praying to ask the Lord to transform our society from a culture of death into a culture of life.

 

SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Christmas Time ended with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on Monday, January 8, and now we enter “Ordinary Time,” a time to reflect on the life of Jesus and commit ourselves to following him. Appropriately, then, the theme of today’s Scripture readings is God’s invitation and our response.

 

The First Reading tells the story of young Samuel, who was serving in the Israelite sanctuary in Shiloh under the priest, Eli. During the night Samuel was sleeping in the temple when he heard someone call out, “Samuel!” He ran to Eli saying, “Here I am,” but Eli had not called him. Three times Samuel heard the voice, until Eli realized that God was calling his servant. He instructed Samuel to respond, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” From that time, we are told, God was with Samuel, making all of his words effective.

 

Today’s Gospel invites us to reflect on another calling—that of Jesus’ disciples. In this call story, John the Baptist helps two of his disciples recognize the Lord. When they go to Jesus, he initiates the encounter by asking, “What are you looking for?”—a key question for any seeker. Their response—“Where are you staying?”—has profound implications. The Greek word menein means “to remain” or “to stay with,” and in John’s Gospel it also describes the divine dwelling within a person, like the relationship that Jesus has with the Father. The seeking and finding theme is also important here.

 

Like those who seek Lady Wisdom in the Old Testament books of Wisdom and Proverbs, those who seek Jesus will find him and become one with him as he is one with the Father.

 

Often people dismiss the idea that they have a call from God. They are sure they are not as worthy or remarkable as Samuel, the prophets, the apostles, priests, and religious men and women. However, each person is called by God to act on his behalf in the world. No matter how ordinary an individual views him or herself and station in life, the call is still there. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that Christians are to follow Christ’s example and all are called to enter the kingdom (##542-543).

 

For Your Reflection: How can you set aside a few minutes of quiet to listen to God? What does it mean to you that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? How do you discern God’s call to you?

 

WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY

January 18-25, 2018

 

Every year during the month of January we celebrate a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity between January 18-25. The theme this year is “Your Right Hand, O Lord, Glorious in Power,” and it comes from Exodus 15:1-21, which reads as follows:

 

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my might, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.

 

Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he cast into the sea; his picked officers were sunk in the Red Sea. The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone. Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power—your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy. In the greatness of your majesty you overthrew your adversaries; you sent out your fury, it consumed them like stubble. At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up, the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’ You blew with your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

 

Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in splendor, doing wonders? You stretched out your right hand, the earth swallowed them.

 

In your steadfast love, you led the people whom you redeemed; you guided them by your strength to your holy abode. The peoples heard, they trembled; pangs seized the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed. Trembling seized the leaders of Moab; all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away. Terror and dread fell upon them. By the might of your arm, they became still as a stone until your people, O Lord, passed by, until the people whom you acquired passed by. You brought them in and planted them on the mountain of your own possession, the place, O Lord, that you made your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established. The Lord will reign forever and ever.”

 

When the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and the chariot drivers went into the sea, the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground.

 

Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.”

 

I would encourage each of us to meditate on this passage daily during this week, if at all possible. Pray for Christian Unity among all denominations and better cooperation among all for the good of everyone. We want to pray that Jesus’ prayer might become more manifest in our words and actions, namely, “that all might be one as the Father and I are one.” You might want to use the following prayer written specifically for this year’s celebration:

 

            God of all, we pray as one, that we may be one, just as the Lord Jesus prayed that

            we may be one in Him. Your Son Jesus compels us to be reconciled to one another.

            May our spirits be joined to your Holy Spirit, that we may witness to the visible

            unity of your Church. May we all recognize that we are truly one with you,

            Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and grow together in peace. We ask this in the name

            of Jesus our Lord. AMEN.

 

Throughout the biblical narrative of salvation, an unmistakable motif is the unrelenting determination of the Lord to form a people whom He could call His own. The formation of such a people, united in a sacred covenant with God, is integral to the Lord’s plan of salvation and to the glorification of His name. The prophets repeatedly remind Israel that their covenant demanded that relationships among its various social groups should be characterized by justice, compassion and mercy. Reconciliation often demands repentance, reparation and healing of memories.

 

As Jesus prepared to seal the new covenant in His own blood, His earnest prayer to the Father was that those given to Him by the Father would be one, just as He and the Father were one. When Christians discover their unity in Jesus, they participate in Christ’s glorification in the presence of the Father, with the same glory that He lived in the Father’s presence before the world existed. Therefore, God’s covenanted people must always strive to be a reconciled community that serves as an effective sign of how to live in justice and peace for all the people of the earth.

 

Today, the Bible continues to be a source of consolation and liberation, inspiring Christians to address the conditions that currently undermine the Body of Christ. The Church, like Israel, is called to be a sign and an active agent of reconciliation.

 

SECOND COLLECTION THIS WEEKEND

 

This weekend we will be taking up a second collection for the Church in Latin America. The people there are faith filled, but the needs and challenges that the Church faces in Latin America and the Caribbean are great. There are few catechetical and pastoral resources as well as a lack of ministers and poor infrastructure throughout the region, but with your help we can support our brothers and sisters and share our faith with them in a prophetic and bold way.

 

Let me give you an inspiring example of this bold and prophetic solidarity. In northeastern Ecuador, in the Amazon jungle, live hundreds of thousands of people. Many of these people are Catholic and have a strong and indigenous culture, and most speak only their native language, Quechua. The first missionaries arrived to this area many years ago and provided basic material for evangelization. Through the Collection for the Church in Latin America, an updated devotional book was produced and adapted to the Quechua culture based on feedback provided by the ingenious people. The book contains prayers, songs, and basic teachings of the faith. News of the latest edition was spread through radio programs, and over 10,000 books were handed out. Your support made it possible for adolescents, adults, and elders living in the Ecuadorian jungle to deepen their faith and to grow in the love of Christ.

 

THE NEW CATHOLIC SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP

FOR THE 2018/19 SCHOOL YEAR

 

Through the “Invest in Kids Act,” the state of Illinois has created a new way to fund scholarships for children from low-income households who want to attend private schools. This program provides an opportunity for more students to receive a quality Catholic education. The tax credit scholarships offered through this program could cover up to 100 percent of tuition and fees for eligible, low-income students. Not all families will be eligible for the new scholarships, but we want to make sure all families are aware of the program.

 

Program details are still being finalized, but you can find information on the scholarships, the application process and the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) on the Archdiocese of Chicago’s website, www.archchicago.org/tcs. If you have any questions about tax credit scholarships, please contact the Archdiocese at [email protected] or you may call 312-534-5321.

 

A CHUCKLE FOR THE SEASON

 

A police officer said to a motorist, “What were you doing? Your car was zigzagging like crazy all over the highway!”

 

The driver replied, “I’m learning to drive.”

 

“Without an instructor in the car?” the officer responded in dismay.

 

“Well, yes,” the man answered. “I’m taking an online course!”