At first glance, The Wedding at Cana by Italian Renaissance artist Paolo Veronese is a meaningless jumble of bodies. But if one looks closely at the expansive painting from 1563, currently held in the Louvre, many messages are portrayed in the variety of figures. This, of course, is Veronese's depiction of our Lord's first miracle when, at Mary's behest, Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding feast (cf. John 2:1-11).
The cross is the theme this week. Last Friday the Church celebrated the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. This Sunday, the 24th in Ordinary Time, Jesus says, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me" (Mk 8:34). The first reading from Isaiah 50 we also read on Palm Sunday and later this week on Thursday we will celebrate the feast day of the martyrs Andrew Kim Tae-gon and Paul Chong Ha-sang. A word or two on these Korean saints, as their stories are inspiring and exemplify the Gospel.
Catholicism did not enter Korea until 1592. Like Japan, the nation was isolated and sealed off from foreign contact. Somehow Catholic literature from China, brought there by Jesuit missionaries, found its way into the peninsula. The native Koreans who read the material were so impressed they converted. When a Chinese priest at last visited Korea in the late 1700s, he found nearly 4,000 Catholics. Remember, these Catholics had never seen a priest.
THE GALA WAS A TREMENDOUS SUCCESS.
Thank you to all the sponsors. attendees, bidders, gala revelers, friends and families of St Juliana. It is because of you that the event was a success especially all the heartfelt contributions for the future of our community and families for generations to come.
John F. McDonough President & CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks Click here for the Live Recording
John McDonough - John F. McDonough Humanitarian Award Recipient Click here for the Live Recording
Jim Cornelison Singing the National Anthem. Click here for the Live Recording
Why help support a STEM Lab for St Juliana School? Hear from the future beneficiaries.
Thank you to all the St Juliana friends, families and community for you and all you do for the St. Juliana family.
Watching the children in pre-kindergarten learn about the alphabet made me recall a little parable on prayer.
A Jewish farmer was not able to return home before sunset one Sabbath and so was forced to spend the night in the field. Upon his return home he was met by a rather perturbed rabbi who chided him for his carelessness. "What did you do out there all night in the field?" the rabbi asked him. "Did you at least pray?" The farmer answered: "Rabbi, I am not a clever man. I don't know how to pray properly. What I did was to simply recite the alphabet all night and let God form the words for himself."
"[Jesus] put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, 'Ephphatha!'— that is, 'Be opened!' — And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly" (Mk 7:33-35).
There is a little ritual during the sacrament of Baptism called the "Ephphatha Rite." After the child has been baptized, the priest blesses the child's ears and mouths. The hope is that the child will one day be able to hear God's word and then proclaim it to others. Maybe parents hope as well that the child will be able to listen to the parents when the child is told to go to bed or stop fighting with their siblings. Either way, the priest is asking the ears and mouth to be opened, as that is what the word Ephphatha means.
To be opened. Pope Benedict XVI, in an Angelus Address several years ago, said that one word, Ephphatha, captures Christ's entire mission. Jesus came to open us, to free us from anything that would enslave us. Jesus came to set us free.
An NBC Chicago TV report that aired Monday night was edited in such a way that gave the false impression that Pope Francis and I consider the protection of children to be less important than other issues, such as the environment or immigration. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A review of the unedited footage of that interview shows that I was referring to the recent letter by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, not the terrible crime of clergy sexual abuse. I said that it was not appropriate, or even possible for Pope Francis to respond to the letter’s many undocumented allegations, and I endorsed his request that journalists determine their veracity.
I was then asked whether there should be an independent investigation of the Archbishop Theodore McCarrick case, and I endorsed the call of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, for a thorough investigation.
The edited report created the false impression that my comment that the pope should not “go down the rabbit hole” of the allegations in the Viganò letter was about sexual abuse. As the unedited footage shows, it was not.
As I wrote in my letter responding to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report: “Whatever words we may use to describe the anguish of reading about these heinous acts, they can never capture the reality of suffering endured by victims of sexual abuse, suffering compounded by the woeful responses of bishops who failed to protect the people they were ordained to serve. … We must resolve to face our failures and hold each other accountable. We must resolve to be clear-eyed about what we have done, what we have failed to do, and what remains to be done. We must resolve to live in the light of humility, of repentance, of honesty — the light of Christ. As your bishop, I pledge to continue holding firm to that resolve. And I ask for you to pray for all victims of abuse.”
Prayer is central. It must be our first priority. Prayer should be the constant fabric woven throughout our lives. No matter what we are doing or where we are or whatever our situation is, we should always pray.
Jesus did. While he was on this earth, our Lord prayed at least three times everyday (in accordance with Jewish custom) and often spent hours and sometimes even days in solitude with the Father.
The Law of Moses from the Old Testament, as I've mentioned before, consisted of over 600 laws. Those who practiced every law down to the last detail were few. They were the urban elite. Some of the laws dealt with ritual washing. Farmers in the countryside simply could not do this. Water was too scarce and precious. Some of the laws dealt with coming in contact with dead objects. Again, this was unavoidable for the working class. Fishermen, for example, often pulled out dead fish from their nets. And there are many other cases of the futility of the law.
Lest the majority of people be in constant legal violation, the Hebrews created what they called "the Little Tradition." This was an adaptation of the laws of Moses. The essence of the important laws were observed.
But not for the Pharisees. They followed everything, and judged those who did not. And Jesus calls them out for it. "Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites..."(Mk 7:6).
"As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him" (Jn 6:66).
We have finally finished the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John. On July 29th we began this Johannine excursus. Up until that point we were reading from the Gospel of Mark. For four weeks we reflected on John's pivotal chapter on the Eucharist (the multiplication of the loaves and fish, followed by the Bread of Life discourse). Next week we will return to Mark's Gospel.
Kind of a depressing end, eh? Jesus performs this incredible miracle, gives this incredible teaching, and we're left with the fact that people have left him.