Just because we add something in life does not mean have to subtract from something else. Devotion to Jesus Christ is an addition to our lives, and it does not take away from anything else. In fact, the practice of our faith enhances all other parts of our life.
Jesus says in our Gospel today, “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt 10:39). Is it fair to wonder if some of us are afraid to truly enter into the full experience of Jesus because we are afraid of the demands he might make on us? Are we afraid we might lose something by coming to church every Sunday or praying every day or trying to live a holier life? I would challenge those of us who might have this (subconscious) thought. Remember, Jesus is a good God. He will never hurt you, but only enhance your life. “And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple—amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward” (Matt 10:42).
Patriotism and loyalty to our country is one thing enhanced by our Catholic faith. Though our nation is far from perfect, and we've committed our share of errors in the past, it is acceptable to believe Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, is guiding our nation. Our faith, for instance, can lead us to pray for our country and for all of our elected officials so that we can be an instrument of God's mercy to humanity. Then, it will actually mean something when we sing: America! America! God shed his grace on thee! And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.
We are beginning to redesign our parish bulletin. In the upcoming weeks you will see some changes, particularly in the design and template. I would like the bulletin to be, primarily, a spiritual source for you all. We will include the Sunday readings, as well as other Mass parts, so please feel free to bring the bulletin with you inside for Mass. Don't worry, we won't assume you're reading it during the homily.
Debuting this week is a new column, "Christ in Chicago: Spiritual Reflections from St. Juliana Parishioners." I have asked a parishioner from our own parish each week to share a little bit of his or her own spirituality. Some parishioners will speak about their relationship to Jesus Christ, others about how, perhaps, their faith has helped them through a difficult time. One week you might see a parishioner reflecting on a book or movie, or maybe even sharing some poetry. Another week you could read about what St. Juliana Parish has meant to the particular individual, or how the individual finds God at home or at work. One of the points of this weekly column (and there are many) is for you all to see the faith alive in your brothers and sisters, and how the experience of our Lord has made a difference in their lives. Hopefully these reflections will enhance your own spirituality, and maybe you yourself might consider writing a reflection one week.
In addition to "Christ in Chicago" we will have other spiritual writings. My "Tassel of the Cloak" column will continue, and Deacon Robinson will give a synopsis of the readings each week. Our school and religious education programs will be prominently featured, as well as events happening around our parish and other news from the various ministries. This is one small way our parish is helping you experience Jesus.
With the parish fiscal year beginning July 1st, we welcome officially our dynamic new school principal, Mrs. Margie Marshall! We are incredibly excited to have Margie part of our parish and leading our school. We also welcome Mrs. Patty Collins into her new role as Coordinator of Religious Education. Patty will continue teaching in our school, and we are excited about the experience she will bring to our religious education program.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July. Maybe you can shoot off a firecracker in honor both of our country and of your Catholic faith.
Yours in Christ,