03 May

The Good Shepherd

 

Letters from a Pastor to His People- May 3, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

I have a small statue of the Good Shepherd on my bookshelf in my office.  Someone gave this to me when I became pastor.  It is about eight inches or so tall, made of white plaster, and depicts a shepherd (not necessarily Christ) carrying a sheep over his shoulders.  It's an image I'm sure you all are familiar with.

03 May

Francisco de Zurbarán's Agnus Dei

 

The simplicity of Francisco de Zurbarán's Agnus Dei (Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain, 1640) draws out intense emotion from the heart of the onlooker.  The 12-month old lamb is laid out on the sacrificial altar, feet corded together and neck graciously offered.  "Like a lamb led to the slaughter, or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth" (Isaiah 53:7). 

03 May

Gospel May 3, 2020

On this fourth Sunday of Easter, the First Reading is from the Acts of the Apostles. At the conclusion of Peter’s first sermon to the Jews assembled in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost, he announces that the crucified and risen Jesus who is both Lord and Christ shares divine authority with the Lord God. After Peter proclamation, the audience, convinced of their own sin and of God’s love for them ask “What must we do?” Peter tells them that they must “repent, be baptized, and receive forgiveness and the Holy Spirit, who is given for you and for all who are far off.” In telling believers to repent, Peter calls for conversion of mind, heart, behavior, and relationship to follow the Risen Lord. The final verse in today’s reading notes the increase of believers through the power of the Word and gift of the Holy Spirit.

03 May

Mobile Art Gear and Drawing Dens

  

Have you picked up an old hobby in the midst of staying at home? An unfinished project or perhaps finding time now to start a project that had been waiting. Last summer, I brought my mobile art gear along with me when I spent the whole summer here at St. Juliana. I fashioned a drawing den for myself in the basement. My mobile art gear consists of a very simple round folding chair, a portable easel and a tacklebox full of misc. art supplies. This gear is not only the means of extending my creative mind into concrete visuals, but it also belonged to my grandfather. He passed away when I was a junior in high school. The summer before he passed, we spent it entirely outside in various locations painting and drawing on sight. A very cherished memory that has been preserved for me by carrying around his old gear.

26 Apr

The Road to Emmaus

Letters from a Pastor to His People- April 26, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

The Road to Emmaus.  This road is one we all travel.  "The path of life" as we hear in the responsorial psalm.  We've been walking on this road our entire lives and will continue to walk it until we arrive at our destination in Heaven.  But even then, some say, the road will not end.  In Heaven we will still be journeying deeper into the heart of God.  

This is also the road for the Church.  We see three significant components are present on the road: discipleship, scripture, and the Eucharist. 

26 Apr

Francois de Montmorency Laval

 

Francois de Montmorency Laval was born to an aristocratic French family in 1623.  Renouncing his family title and estate, Laval became a Catholic priest.  After spending time in prayer and study under the incredible tutelage of Jean-Jacques Olier and future saints Vincent de Paul and John Eudes, Laval was made bishop at age 35 of New France, becoming the first bishop of Canada. 

26 Apr

Gospel April 26, 2020

 

Today’s reading from the Act of the Apostles is a portion of Peter’s discourse on that day, the first of many in Acts, message to the situation of his audience. At the heart of the speeches is the proclamation about Jesus, telling the gathered people about and how God raised Jesus from death, thus fulfilling the Messianic prophecies about the promised descendant of David. During his speech, Peter refers to Israel’s beloved King David, quoting Hebrew Scriptures, Psalm 16, and asserts that David, “foresaw and spoke of the Resurrection of the Christ.” Even though Jesus is able to work signs and wonders, he is rejected by his own people. In this case, Peter is not accusing his fellow Jews but pointing out God’s plan of salvation. Peter’s speech also develops the Kerigma, the foundation of Christian faith, in the light of the Jewish Scripture.  

26 Apr

St Thomas Aquinas

In my second year at Mundelein, my course load was packed with dense theology courses, such as Christology and Doctrine of God. One afternoon, I had just come out of class and my brain was fried. I must have had a dazed look on my face because an upperclassman, who I knew well, stopped and asked how my studies were going. I said, “Oh…fine”. He chuckled and asked, “have you found yourself staring at walls yet?” I was surprised by how accurately he named the very thing I would do as I studied for a class.

19 Apr

Interior Social Approaching

Letters from a Pastor to His People- April 19, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

I brought up last week in my Virtual Easter Mass homily the concept of "social distancing."  We are all familiar with this.  A distance of six feet is to be maintained between individuals, and we are not to shake hands or do other activities that put us in physical contact with one another.  We saw the first instance of "social distancing" with Mary Magdalene and Jesus outside the tomb on Easter Sunday.  Mary, upon recognizing Jesus risen from the dead, embraces him.  Jesus tells her, essentially, to let go and maintain social distancing.  "Jesus said to her, 'Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father'" (John 20:17).

19 Apr

Springtime in the Heart

Easter, an old-English word, derives from estre, which was the name of the pagan springtime God.  In German, ‘Easter’ comes from ‘east’—the point being to emphasize hope, as the sun rises in the east at dawn.  Hopefully we can make an opportunity in this ebullient season to experience a “springtime” in our faith.  If we desire it, God will grant it.  “It is always springtime in the heart that loves God,” said Saint John Vianney, the curé of Ars.