July 1, 2018
A few weeks ago we remembered the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy on June 5, 1968. He had been campaigning for the office of the President of the United States when he was shot in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. It was another horrific moment in our history as we were dealing with the horrors of racism that were coming to a head throughout our land, and unfortunately we still are facing many of these same problems and issues today in 2018.
I’d like to take you back to April 4, 1968, when Kennedy was campaigning at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. During a question-and-answer forum there, a Black student addressed the candidate, “Mr. Kennedy, I agree with the programs and proposals that you are making, and I congratulate you on them, but in order for them to work, you’re placing a great deal of faith in white America. My question is: is this faith justified?”
Kennedy replied, “Yes, I think the vast majority of the American people want to do the decent thing and the right thing.” After the rally, as Kennedy walked to his plane to fly from Muncie to Indianapolis, an aid told him Martin Luther King had been shot in Memphis. Upon arrival in Indianapolis, Kennedy learned definitely that Martin Luther King was dead. His advisers and local officials wanted him to cancel his campaign stop in an overwhelming black neighborhood, but he ignored them. He rallied, standing on the back of a flatbed truck, and informed the crowd of King’s murder.
Kennedy praised King but quickly moved to how people before him likely felt. “For those of you who are black—considering the evidence that seems to say there were white people who were responsible—you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization—black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another.”
The idea of any public figure, let alone a white U.S. senator running for president, telling black people that their rage is justified, that they do not need to help heal the nation by being bottomless wells of forgiveness, that this may be one betrayal too many, is stunning. Kennedy offers anger and withdrawal as legitimate responses to tragedy: “For those of you who are black and are tempted to fill with, be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.”
Still, it was possible that something existed beyond bitterness, mistrust, and hatred. “What we need in the United States is not division, what we need in the United States is not hatred, what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but it is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.” Kennedy warned the turn to justice and compassion was not going to be easy, and the future was uncertain. He even warned that there would likely be more violence to come, but he closed with the same hedged hope he offered the Ball State student a few hours before, “The vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.”
Kennedy’s words had power and, consequently, Indianapolis escaped the rioting and violence that destroyed large swaths of other American cities in the wake of King’s murder. Today, the entire speech is on a plaque near the intersection where Kennedy spoke. There are also two sculptures cast in high relief, one of Martin Luther King, the other of Robert Kennedy. They are facing each other, each man with an arm outstretched, perhaps reaching to close the distance that separated them in life. Each man’s shadow is depicted as well, reaching down toward the viewer.
The distance in our camaraderie with these two men is the distance of time, of 50 years. Still, if we choose to act with “compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black,” we can close that distance as well. With their words, with their actions, with the examples of their lives, that is what Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy call us to do.
THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Today’s readings celebrate God, who has blessed us with life, and they invite us to share these blessings with others. The reading from the Book of Wisdom reminds us that in creation we discover God’s goodness. Paul continues the reminder of God’s graciousness in the reading from the Second Letter to the Corinthians. He states, “For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor.” We discover God’s goodness in creation but also in his Son’s death and Resurrection, whereby we become a new creation through grace. Since we experience God’s life of grace daily, Paul challenges us to imitate God’s generosity by caring for those in need.
The two miracles recorded in today’s Gospel offer examples of Jesus’ generosity. Jesus responds to two people in dire need with his gift of life and grace. Mark narrates these miracles in an interesting way—similar to how a sandwich is made. The first miracle (the two slices of bread) shows Jesus responding to the urgent appeal of a synagogue official, Jairus, by restoring his twelve-year-old daughter to life. On the way (this is the sandwich filling) Jesus responds to a woman who anxiously touches his cloak. Each takes the initiative in reaching out to Jesus in faith, and Jesus responds to their faith: “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
In both healings Jesus breaks taboos of his society: he touches a dead person and is touched by a bleeding woman. These actions make Jesus impure in the eyes of his society. Disregarding society’s norms in order to bring life and healing, Jesus proves he is the source of life for all in need. Like Jesus, we are challenged to reach out to those in need and bring them God’s love and compassion, making them feel alive again.
In Jesus’ miracles, the healing power of touch can be observed. The Church continues to rely on touch to heal. The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults explains: “While Jesus sometimes simply spoke some words to accomplish a healing, he often touched the afflicted person to bring about the cure. In the Church’s Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, through the ministry of the priest, it is Jesus who touches the sick to heal them from sin—and sometimes even from physical ailment” (#251).
When Jesus brought someone back to life, the miracle was not an isolated incident but a prelude to what was to come for all who believe. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “It is Jesus himself who will raise up those who have believed in him. Already now in this present life he gives a sign and a pledge of this by restoring some of the dead to life” (#994).
For Your Reflection: Have you considered how the poverty of Christ has enriched you? Why has God formed humankind to be imperishable? How has your faith helped you during troubled times?
INDEPENDENCE DAY 2018
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Once again we are ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, one of the biggest holidays of the year. That’s partially due to it occurring in the middle of summer with the possibility of going to the beach, having a family reunion, grilling with a picnic, or just chilling out in some other way. We always think of fireworks, parades and weekend trips. For some it coincides with a family vacation, whether that be at a lake not too far away or perhaps Disney World in Orlando. Here in our part of the country we expect high temperatures, lots of sunshine and glorious humidity.
What do we celebrate? During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the thirteen colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia. After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of
America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations
as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of
deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized
with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and
illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward
Adam’s prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.
How things have changed between (1776) and now (2018). We were thirteen colonies (states); now we are fifty. We were a nation of patriots and pilgrims; now we are considered the most powerful nation in the world known for freedom, equality, equal opportunity and a high standard of living. At the time of the Declaration we were 2.6 million people living in the newly independent nation; now we are 325.71 million people on this 4th of July 2018. We still have our struggles, we still have our disagreements, but we strive to live what we declared those many years ago. As a thankful nation, we pray: God Bless America!
We invite you to include in your holiday plans to join us for the Eucharist at 10:00 A.M. here at St. Peter’s. The church will be open only from 9:00-11:00 on July 4th so that the friars too might enjoy a day of rest and celebration.
- PETER’S GALA
Don’t forget that St. Peter’s is holding its annual Gala on Thursday, July 19, 2018, from 5:30-8:30 P.M. at the Union League Club, 65 West Jackson Boulevard. It’s an evening of great fun and food, along with meeting both old and new friends while sipping a cool drink. We also have some magnificent items for you to purchase and to bid on during the silent and live auctions. The profits from this event go totally to reducing our budget deficit. Last year we netted c. $125,000; this year our goal is to top that amount by a significant margin. Tickets @ $175.00 apiece are still on sale after some of the Masses on weekends and weekdays, or at other times when the front office is open. We hope to see you there.
THEOLOGY ON TAP—MONDAYS, JULY 9, 16, 23, 30
The St. Peter’s Young Adults (SPYA) are happy to announce that we will be hosting four gatherings of “Theology on Tap” again this summer. This is the seventh year in a row that we will be hosting TOT, and we’re really excited about it. For those who are not sure what Theology on Tap is, basically we will be bringing in some expert speakers to speak to us about current issues in our world and in our personal lives. There will be really good food, some great speakers, and mostly a wonderful chance to connect with fellow young adults on the journey of faith. When our gatherings started years ago, we posed a question that still remains poignant: What does it mean for US to be Catholic?
On these four Mondays in July, we welcome everyone between the ages of 20 and 40 to attend and talk about that question. We will begin at 5:30 with some food, and we will end by 7:30 each evening. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact Fr. Ed Shea at 773-892-4134.
Here’s what we have in store for you:
Monday, July 9—John Antonio—“Dating, Not Disappointed”
Monday, July 16—Chelsea Piper—“Authentic Femininity and Masculinity”
Monday, July 23—Mary Deeley—“Finding Our Story in THE Story”
Monday, July 30—Brother Joe Trout, OP—“Engaging Young (and Younger) Adults in the Church”
Make your plans now to participate in these wonderful opportunities during July.
SECOND COLLECTION THIS WEEKEND
This weekend we take up a second collection called the Peter’s Pence Collection, a worldwide collection that supports the charitable works of Pope Francis. Funds from this collection help victims of war, oppression, and natural disasters. Take this opportunity to join with Pope Francis and be a witness of charity to our suffering brothers and sisters. Please be generous.
A SUMMERTIME CHUCKLE
Doctor Bloomfield, who was known for extraordinary treatment of arthritis, had a waiting room full of people when a little old lady, almost bent over in half, shuffled in slowly, leaning on her cane.
When her turn came, she went into the doctor’s office and, amazingly, emerged within 5 minutes walking completely erect with her head held high.
A woman in the waiting room, who had seen all this, rushed up to the lady and said, “It’s a miracle! You walked in bent in half and now you are walking erect. What did that doctor do?”
“He gave me a larger cane.”