30 Apr

From Emmaus to Edison Park

Dear Parishioners,

The Road to Emmaus. What a fascinating story from the Gospel of Luke (Lk 24:13-35)! The two disciples, walking away from Jerusalem downcast, do not realize they are speaking with Jesus Christ until the breaking of the bread. “And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.”

The two disciples were unable to recognize Jesus in the discussion of the scriptures. Even though Jesus explained clearly the meaning of what was prophesied and what happened—“then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures”—they still did not understand. They needed to receive Jesus in the Eucharist to be moved. “He was made known to them in the breaking of bread.”

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23 Apr

Put your finger here.

Dear Parishioners,

Thomas was so close. His sainthood teetered on the edge. If our Lord had not been merciful and returned to show his wounds, Thomas might never have believed in the Resurrection and might not have remained a follower of Christ. He would not be a saint and would be grouped instead with Judas. Thomas was so close to forsakenness. He could have fallen away. But Jesus catered to Thomas' need for proof and kept him secure. “Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.’ Thomas answered and said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’“ (Jn 20:27-28).

Maybe you've been close to the edge, close to falling astray and away from Christ. Or maybe even you did fall and were away for a while. Thomas is your saint then.

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16 Apr

With God all things are possible.

Dear Parishioners,

Happy Easter! Christ is risen from the dead, alleluia!

The Resurrection is like a code that has been programmed into the software of the earth. Dying and rising is everywhere. Think about it. Moving on to a high school or college is a resurrection experience. A student "dies" to his grammar school and is reborn in high school. Flowers are blooming. A new Cubs season is underway. People are marrying.

People are dying and being reborn to eternal life.

Companies, like Apple, have experienced the resurrection too, as have industries and brands: bourbon, neon sunglasses, the Volkswagen Beetle, the Twinkie, leggings and striped tube socks. All of these things existed at one point, began to diminish, and then returned.

Saint Juliana Parish is no different. The Resurrection is in our DNA.

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09 Apr

On the importance of the Resurrection

Dear Parishioners,

I teach 7th grade religion once a week in our school. Recently I asked them on a quiz to write a short-answer essay on why the resurrection is important. Here are some snippets of responses from the quizzes:

The Resurrection is important because when Jesus resurrected he opened the gates of heaven so we could live forever.

The Resurrection showed that Jesus was true to his word and also foreshadowed his coming again to judge all.

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02 Apr

Come and See

Dear Parishioners,

The raising of Lazarus is one of my favorite passages from the Bible (cf. Jn 11:1-45). I have meditated on this scene dozens of times and taken away a different message or insight each time. Let's take this line: “Jesus wept.”

I often suggest this passage to read when an individual who is grieving the loss of a loved one comes to me for counseling. Jesus wept over the death of his loved one too. He can empathize with us. We can relate to him. Most importantly, Jesus is with us in our sorrow. Whatever we might be feeling--sadness, confusion, anger, despair—we are not alone. Jesus wept and he weeps again with us. The scene of the raising of Lazarus can hopefully be a source of comfort to us.

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