Dear Parishioners,

The one thing in Scripture we are told Jesus ever made, though he was a carpenter, was a “whip out of cords” (Jn 2:15). It's in our Gospel this Sunday: the scourging of the temple. It's amazing to think that this simple weapon could drive out the dozens and dozens of moneychangers, animals, and other traffickers. And though Jesus was a strong man (years of carpentry would have made him so), he was not that big and strong, such that he would intimidate people. It wasn't as if Dwane "the Rock" Johnson were cleansing the temple. How was Jesus able to disperse all these sellers and animals, and avoid arrest by the temple police and Sadducees? Author Frank Sheed writes, “there must have been something in the personality they could not stand against, in the blaze of the eyes or the icy condemnation in them; otherwise Jesus would have been beaten to the ground in the first few minutes, and the money-changing and the animal-selling would have gone on with hardly an interruption.”

This scene occurs in all the Gospels, but in John's Gospel, from which we read this weekend, the scene is at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, not towards the end as the synoptics have it. He leaves the wedding feast of Cana and proceeds immediately to the temple to cleanse it. I wonder if the people for the next three years of our Lord's ministry had this fiery image of Jesus in their minds. I wonder if this was part of Jesus' allure.

We all like people, I think, who show emotion and are passionate about what they believe in. There is a reason Mike Ditka is still so popular in the eyes of Chicagoans. His temper showed he cared, and that was endearing.

Jesus is not all that different. He was passionate about cleansing the Temple. He is as passionate today about seeing you be his disciple and about seeing his parish, St. Juliana, thrive.

Today, Sunday March 4th, is the Scout Pancake Breakfast in the morning, followed by a presentation by Chicago radio legend Kevin Matthews on his book Broken Mary at 3:30pm in the church. He will then join us for the 5pm Mass. Copies of the book will be available in the back of the church in the afternoon.

The St. Juliana Parish Mission, led by Fr. Michael Moore of the St. Patrick Fathers, is this week as well. Fr. Moore will give his talk in the context of Mass, and there will be a Mass/talk at both 8:30am and 7pm. On Wednesday evening we will conclude with a penance service, which will serve as our Lenten Penance Service.

Tomorrow, Monday, I will talk with the Heartbreak to Healing group at 10am, and on Wednesday I will accompany the 8th graders again this year on their field trip to the Holocaust Museum.

We are excited for the individuals who are preparing to enter the Church in a few weeks: Daniel Dreger, Stephanie Garrigus, and Bob Nelson. Thank you to Father Laurent who has led RCIA with these candidates.

On Easter I plan to give a fuller description of all that is happening around the parish, but in the meantime let me provide a little sampling. As I mentioned last week, we have begun construction on our new restroom facility in the back of the church. We are also in the process of ordering new carpet for the inside of the church. Financially, we are doing quite well. Take a look at a few items, comparing ourselves to last year:

Ordinary Income July-December 2017 July-December 2016 $ Change
Sunday Collections 398,748.04 369,951.48 +28,796.56
School Tuition 1,110,319.98 1,084,848.52 +25,471.46
Interest/Investments 112,690.36 60,598.74 +52,091.62
Ordinary Expense
Salaries 836,678.26 925,045.85 +88,367.59
Net Ordinary Income 254,060.03 61,959.87 +192,100.16

This is, of course, just a snapshot, and it is only midyear, but it goes to serve the point that we are moving in the right direction here at St. Juliana. Additionally, Mass attendance is up, school enrollment is healthy, the committees (School Board, Finance Council, Pastoral Council) are active and strong, and we have created some great new programs (3 C’s in Christ, Teen Ministry, Hospitality Ministry, to name a few) to help people experience Jesus. Thank you for your continued support.

Yours in Christ,
Father James

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