Beginning on Monday I will be on my annual personal retreat. I normally am in Seaside, Oregon for this but because of the pandemic I will be in my home. I will be reflecting on Pope Francis’ latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti which focuses on fraternity and social friendship. I also plan to take next weekend off. Fr. Chuck Palluck will preside at the masses on Jan. 30th and 31st. Please pray for me as I will for you.
Thank you for your Christmas gifts to me. I appreciate your kindness. May the Lord bless all of our community in a special way.
We begin Ordinary time this Sunday. This is not ho-hum time but counted Sundays. The primary numbers are 1, 2, 3 etc. Ordinal numbers are first, second, third, etc. The feast of the baptism of the Lord which was last weekend was technically the first Sunday in Ordinary time. This weekend is the Second Sunday. This year there are only five Sundays of Ordinary time between the feast of the baptism of the Lord and Ash Wednesday.
Liturgically, such a short period of Ordinary time can feel like a valley between the Advent/Christmas and Lent/triduum/Easter cycles. So too can this season feel like a lull in the broader culture, especially in the wintry northern latitudes of the United States. Even when the sun shines, a chill often fills the air. Although the days are lengthening, they can still seem short and dark. At our worst moments during this season, our feelings echo Job’s lament from the reading for the Fifth Sunday.” Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery? I have been assigned months of misery… the night drags on.” this is especially the case during this pandemic.
When we feel surrounded by darkness, the Eucharistic liturgy is all the more significant because it is where we are drawn into the “compelling love of Christ” who “sets (us) on fire.” May these Sundays of Ordinary time piece the darkness and reflect the radiance of the Lord’s Day, the day of the light of Christ and the fire of the Holy Spirit.
This weekend we celebrate our thirtieth anniversary as a parish community. It is appropriate that it falls on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Our patron John the Baptist is a pivotal actor in this vignette. You might say that Jesus began to understand his mission through his baptism. When he came up from the water he heard a voice from the heavens say, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
By virtue of our own baptism we are accounted as God’s beloved sons and daughters. The world describes us in various ways but it is God alone who defines wholly who we are. May the Lord continue to bless us. St. John the Baptist, pray for us.
Please accept as an anniversary gift the book Our One Great Act of Fidelity – Waiting for Christ in the Eucharist, by Fr. Ron Rohlheiser. If you aren’t able to pick up a copy for your family at the church this weekend, please drop by the office or call ahead to have one reserved for you.
The Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, (Jan 1st) and the Epiphany of the Lord, (Jan. 3rd) are highly appropriate for the beginning of a new year. On New Year’s Day we hear that the Virgin Mary heard the words of the shepherds and reflected on them in her heart. We are called to pause and reflect on what this past year has meant for us. It certainly has been a peculiar year and difficult to comprehend yet alone having lived through. May we sift through the bad and the good learning from it. Although our lives were limited to some degree hopefully it prompted a greater depth in our relationships especially in our families. With the Epiphany we find the newborn Jesus being manifested beyond Israel to the wider world in the persons of the magi. Hopefully this new year of 2021 will open us to go beyond our enclosed little worlds and reach out to those in need throughout the world.
On behalf of our parish staff I wish you and yours a happy and blessed new year filled with our newborn Savior’s love and peace.
On behalf of our entire parish staff I wish you and your family a wondrous and blessed Christmas season. In the midst of this stubborn pandemic may we allow the light of our Savior’s birth to break through the darkness that shrouds us. As we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family this weekend may we consecrate our own families to our gracious God. May we give thanks for each one of our family members. May we forgive what needs to be forgiven and be healed where we need to be healed. May the peace of Christ which is beyond all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and God’s son, our Lord Jesus Christ.