When I first prayed over the second reading for this Sunday, in preparing for this letter, I had my own revelation. Of course, this is John's revelation. He sees a great multitude standing before the Lamb of God, wearing white robes with palms in their hands. One of the saints leans over to John, during his vision, and explains to John that “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev 7:14).
My vision was that this multitude in the white robes was you all, you faithful Catholics. No, it wasn't an idea of throwing a toga party. It was me seeing you all who have survived 'the time of great distress.'
Okay, what's the time of great distress? Two things. First, in the Catholic Church. It's been a rough year for the Church, with the scandals and so forth. You are still coming to Church. (If anyone thinks Catholicism has been weakened, I hope you saw the Church on Easter Sunday—it was an absolutely packed house. And, talking with pastors elsewhere, they had similarly full congregations.) You have persevered in your faith throughout the scandals. Your robe has been washed white.
The second occasion for distress: the suffering in your own life. I'm presuming on this one. But I believe it is a safe presumption. Each one of you has suffered something; maybe recently, maybe sometime in the past. In suffering, it is easy for us to turn away from God. We can be angry with him and shut him out. This is a disastrous thing to do. Not because God will be angry and punish us, but because we will be alone. Again, you have suffered and you are still a believer. Your red robe has been whitewashed. I see you, in your faith and loyalty to God, holding that palm branch. It is the palm branch of your victory. It is the branch of your salvation! God bless you and keep the faith!
Happy Mother's Day! Thank you, mothers and you good, holy women, for your witness. You model not just Jesus Christ, but his own mother, Mary. We are blessed by your witness. May you have a wonderful day and know of our prayers.
Every year on Mother's Day there is a special Catholic Charities Collection. Please consider giving to Catholic Charities today to help the mother's, children, and seniors from our community who are struggling. Special envelopes are in the back of the church that you can use to drop in the regular collection basket. You can also contribute online at www.catholiccharities.net/donate or mail your check directly to Catholic Charities at 721 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago IL 60454.
Men's Club has its meeting Monday night at 7:30pm. My Tuesday Theology Talk this week at 7pm in the Chapel will be on St. Margaret Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Wednesday I will speak at a business manager's meeting for the Archdiocese and then, later that evening, we have the School Volunteer Dinner at EPI, thanking all those who volunteer in the school. At the Friday 8:30am School Mass the 8th graders will have their Ribbon Ceremony.
Again, Hank Lyon is to be ordained a Deacon this Saturday, May 11th at Holy Name Cathedral. Please keep Hank in your prayers. And, speaking of clergy, this time of year we celebrate ordination anniversaries. My 7th anniversary of being a priest is actually this Sunday, May 12th. Next Sunday, May 19th will be Fr. Emanuel's one-year anniversary. Fr. Roger had his 61st anniversary on April 19th. Thank you for your support. Deacons Bob Ryan and Ed Dolan have celebrated their anniversaries as well. We love being priests at St. Juliana.
Yours in Christ,