A message from Fr. Jim
April 16, 2017
He is risen even as he said! Alleluia!” Forty days of fast yield to fifty days of feast. Through Jesus, death no longer has a hold over us. We are called to let go of the fears which often entomb us and know the joy that only the Risen One can bestow. May we walk always as children of the light bringing hope to a world that is sorely divided. God has the last word. The resurrection of Jesus is that last word. May we leave behind us a string of empty tombs. On behalf of our parish staff may you and your family deeply experience the love of Jesus Christ and share it with others. Happy Easter!!
April 9, 2017
We begin Holy Week with Jesus’ triumphal procession into Jerusalem. Branches of palm are ancient symbols of victory and hope, as well as of new life. Yet, in a few day, they will cry “Crucify him!” The crowd’s change of heart illustrates the problem, of holding God to our expectations. The crowd expected a liberating leader, the Messiah, to free them from Roman oppression. Jesus instead takes up his Cross and invites us to do the same. Through his Death and Resurrection he is indeed a liberator, but from death and since, not from Rome.. This week you are invited to take part in a special way in letting God be God, and to trust in God’s wisdom not only to meet but shatter and exceed our expectations.
April 2, 2017
I hope you’ve been keeping up with the Rice Bowl calendar which each week highlights a person from a different country. This week we focus on Dita from Ethiopia. She, her husband, and their seven children depended on the money they earned selling crops from their small farm. When frequent droughts meant they had no crops to sell their family went hungry. But thanks to a Catholic Relief program that prepares families for droughts, Dita was able to open a small store. Instead of relying solely on her farm, she now earns an income selling items like pasta, shampoo and bananas. Please support Operation Rice Bowl which offers grants to help sustain start-up organizations that support those in need throughout the United States and well beyond.
March 26, 2017
We are in the midst of some powerful Gospel readings at our Lenten Sunday liturgies. Last week we were introduced to the Samaritan woman. This weekend the blind man is cured by Jesus which causes quite a stir. Next week Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. These readings are used every year for the three scrutinies which our elect celebrate. They are journeying to the Easter sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist. With the help of the symbols of water, light, and new life they are invited to examine their lives and give them over to Jesus Christ. We are called to do the same. May we pray for them and the candidates for full reception into the Catholic Church.
Our Lenten reconciliation service will beheld Saturday, April 1st at 2 pm. We will be focusing on the stations of the cross for our examination of conscience.
March 19, 2017
I would like to thank a few of our staff members for their years of service with us as they transition from their ministries this summer. Terri Rains has served as pastoral assistant for Pre-School/Elementary Faith Formation for the past two years. She hopes to remain in contact through volunteering where needed. Kelly Ramsdell steps down as pastoral assistant for Youth (5th through 8th grade) for the past 2 1/2 years. Tina Reeves plans to pass on the torch as pastoral assistant for High School/Life Teen Ministry which she has been involved in for 12 years. She will work part time with our young adults. Finally Pat Frost is retiring from her position as pastoral assistant for Liturgy and Pastoral Care the past 11 years. We hope to combine the youth position (5th to 8th grade) with Life Teen/High School and make it a full time position. The pre-school/elementary position would remain part time. The liturgy/pastoral care position is also full time. We will miss the wonderful gifts these women have brought to these ministries. Fortunately they will continue as St. John’s parishioners. May the Lord bless them in every way.
March 12, 2017
Each year on the Second Sunday of Lent, the Church presents a narrative of Jesus’ transfiguration. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all include this account, though with subtle differences, because each addresses a particular community in specific circumstances. Matthew, most likely a Jew who came to faith in Jesus as Messiah, writes for a Christian community with similar background, though it probably had begun to include various questions about the continuity or discontinuity between Jesus and the Judaism of their birth. Matthew depicts Jesus as the one who fulfills the Law and the Prophets, symbolized by the figure of Moses, the Lawgiver, and Elijah, prominent among the great prophets of Israel. These figures appear with Jesus, but fade into the background after the revelation of divine presence in Jesus. We do not need to be on the mountain with Peter, James, and John to bask in Jesus’ glory. If we but have faith in Christ’s presence in our daily lives, we can’t help but experience traces of his glory.
Archbishop Sartain has dispensed us from the obligation of abstinence from meat this Friday, St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy your corned beef and cabbage.
February 26, 2017
Lent is upon us beginning this coming Wednesday. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are at the heart of this holy season. Lenten discipleship us about returning, about making our way back to the Lord. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving help us on this journey. Just as Jesus’ disciples were not free from sin, neither are we. We need the Lord to call us back. We need the Lord to remind us of his everlasting mercy, of his covenant with us, of his forgiveness. Without these five Sundays of Lent and their accompanying weekdays, along with Palm Sunday and Holy Week to recalibrate our faith journey, we might fail to recognize those areas in our own lives where we need to be reconciled with our brothers and with God. The forty days of Lent give us the opportunity to accept God’s forgiveness, to humble ourselves, to renew our commitment to living the commandments, to have God transfigure us. Have a happy Lent!
February 19, 2017
I had the good fortune of meeting Don Samuel Ruiz when I was the pastor of St. Mary’s parish in the central District of Seattle. This was about 1985. He was the bishop of the Diocese of San Cristobal de las casas in southern Mexico from 1960-2000. He empowered the indigenous people of his diocese and was a mediator in the conflict between the Zapatista rebels and the Mexican governments in the 1990’s. For this, he received many death threats. When asked how he had come to live so completely the command to love one’s enemies, when he had so many, he had a puzzled look. “I have no enemies,” he said. “There are some who want to make themselves enemy to me, but I have no enemies.” I can only hope to say that for myself some day. Disciples are to set no bounds on their love, just as God sets no bounds on the divine love.
February 12, 2017
I was surprised as I woke last Monday morning that the power was out and a blanket of snow lay on the ground. I had planned to visit a friend in Everett that day. It’s funny how plans can change in a moment. Instead I piled on the sweaters and even a snuggy and did a lot of reading and some praying. When the power returned about 3 p.m. I did my proper share of rejoicing. I guess I’ve matured enough over the years to realize that there are some things (actually many) that we can’t control. How do we choose to react to those times? With frustration or patience? At least there is a solid base of snow in the mountains.
February 5, 2017
I am writing this just after preparing last weekend’s homily on the Beatitudes. This plan for happy and blessed living that Jesus presented is at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew envisions Jesus as the new Moses, speaking to Christian Jews from the mountain reminiscent of Mount Sinai. His purpose in giving an alternative outlook on the Law was not to abolish it but to fulfill. In other words, he wished to move it from a rigid set of rules that treated persons as cases and objects to a living document which had love running through its course. Enemies are to be looked on with love and those who have offended us are to be treated with mercy. If anything, Jesus has given the Law a greater spine, a worthy ideal to work for.
May this next month before Lent begins (March 1) find us reflecting on and living out Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount in such a way that we grow in a healthy understanding of who we are so that we can ultimately say “I am enough”.
January 29, 2017
For many years now I get away on a personal retreat the last week of January. Seaside, Oregon is my destination. I wish I could say that I go to a monastery. No, it’s the Shilo Inn. I usually get a discount because I am a Shilo Rewards member. This week I will bring with me Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly (the book we recently handed out to every family.) I am also bringing the latest book of Fr. Richard Rohr. Besides reading I like to spend some quiet time in prayer, do some walking, and enjoy some good meals in town. Please keep me in your prayers as I will for you. I will be back on Friday.
January 15, 2017
“Working for the common good” is a phrase we don’t often hear in this “me first” generation. The word “sacrifice” has also fallen out of favor in our day and age. It seems that everything is relative and the truth depends on how we interpret it. And yet Jesus identifies himself as the “way, the truth, and the life.” These musing’s take place as I reflect on the inauguration of a new president at the end of this week, I must admit that I have some anxiety. I pray that President-elect Trump and his cabinet look to the long view on issues such as health care, immigration, trade, gun control, and global warming. The common good should be at the center of each of these issues and more to come. May we pray that our government officials allow the Holy Spirit to lead them to make wise decisions that will benefit all of our country’s citizens.
January 8, 2017
On this Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord we celebrate that the child born in the darkness of night in a lowly manger is revealed as the manifestation (the meaning of epiphany) of God. Christ is revealed in many ways: as Lord, as King, as the one in whom God is present and acts. All of these manifestations are “lights” that shine on Christ, revealing a deeper understanding of who he is. As our parish celebrates it’s twenty-sixth anniversary this weekend may we too manifest Christ’s loving presence in Covington, Kent, Maple Valley;, and beyond.
Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Mass will be celebrated at 9 AM.
Thank you for your generous Christmas gifts. I appreciate your kindness.
December 25, 2016
I have always found it interesting that just as the secular world brings Christmas to a close we churchgoers are just warming up. In other words Christmas in the liturgical year is more than a day. In fact the liturgical year gives us the opportunity to celebrate Christmas joy for sixteen days this year. The child Jesus, descendant of David, Son of God and Son of Mary, is born for us. In Him, the grace of God appears, saving all. He is the Word made flesh. He is King! This wondrous news calls us to respond in worship, in joy, and in love for God and one another. The angels and shepherds show us how to respond: worship and praise we must offer to the glory of God. The posture of adoration is the first posture for every disciple.
On behalf of our parish staff, I wish you and your family a most blessed Christmas season. May we make room for our new born Savior so that we can bring His light and peace to the world today.