Father James Wallace

Love it or hate it, there's no denying it.

Dear Parishioners,

Ah, the cross! We love it and we hate it. The cross hangs proudly, front and center, in our churches. We wear it on our chests, display it in our homes, and dangle it from our rearview mirrors in our cars. Young people tattoo it on their bodies. And yet, we despise suffering. We beg God to take away our crosses, or the crosses of our loved ones. We shake our heads in dismay when we hear of people in distress, and we do all in our power, often by service work, to help mitigate the cross. We tremble at the shadow of a cross as it comes into our lives.

You Are My Sunshine

On Sunday May 28, 2017, which also happened to be the Feast of the Ascension, there appeared on the front page of the Chicago Tribune and New York Times two articles related to death and dying. "7 Days Lost: Fear, spirituality, tears and peace" was the feature story in the Tribune. Madeline Connelly, a River Forest native, survived without any supplies for seven days in the Montana wilderness. Her Catholic Parish back home, St. Luke's, held prayer services for her. Connelly said, “I felt like I was being carried through it. I didn’t know all these people were praying for me and looking for me but, after I got out, it made a lot of sense for why I felt so safe and energized. The power of prayer and positive thinking is real.”

Water Boys

Standing on the sidelines of a high school football game recently had me thinking about the water boy. This position is often seen as lesser member of the team, perhaps even viewed derogatorily. But to Jesus it is a noble position in the Catholic Church, and one to which we are all ultimately called.

Don't be Evil

"Don't be evil" was the one-time motto of Google. The Silicon Valley giant prided itself on being about people and not bottom-lines. Google used data to create new ways for people to get the most from technology. The internet search engine, maps and navigation, and commerce were all improved by Google, making our lives that much simpler, easier and more enjoyable. People were attracted to Google and the company's influence in society soared.

Key to the Kingdom

Dear Parishioners,

Saint Peter was the head of the apostles. How do we know this? From the tradition and from today's Gospel (Matt 16:13-20). When Peter correctly answers that Jesus is the Christ, our Lord responds to him: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Work for Your Prayer

Dear Parishioners,

Work for your prayer. That is one message we can take away from our Gospel on this 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time. A Canaanite woman asks Jesus for help and he does not respond. The woman does not quit. She keeps asking. In fact, she asks so much the apostles become annoyed. “Jesus' disciples came and asked him, ’Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us’” (Matt 15:23).

All the wrong places?

Dear Parishioners,

We listen this weekend to the account of Jesus walking on water. The apostles, floundering on the boat, were so surprised they actually were “terrified,” as Matthew tells us (Matt 14:22-33). They do not think it is Jesus, but rather a ghost. They expect to see Jesus on firm ground, like any normal person. He should not be on water!

Shine On

Dear Parishioners,

“Christ's mysteries are our mysteries.” Blessed Columba Marmion once wrote those words. He was saying that we can apply the events in Christ's life to our own. The second Person of the Holy Trinity, by taking on human nature, fused humanity to the divine. What happened (and happens), thus, to our Lord, happens to us.

Twinning

Dear Parishioners,

The twin parables of the Kingdom of Heaven this Sunday (the treasure buried in the field and the pearl of great price) are ones, I surmise, to be easily dismissed. We are currently living in the Kingdom of God—do we see it as a treasure or a pearl? No. Our lives of faith and our activity in the Church seem rather ordinary, anything but a treasure or a pearl. So, how can we relate to these parables from Matthew on the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time?

Fat Man

Around this time of year the sky is an acute focus for Catholics, particularly those in Japan. The Feast of the Assumption, when Mary was lifted up to heaven, is August 15th. On August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allies. A few days earlier an atomic bomb named "Fat Man" came down from the heavens, obliterating Nagasaki, the heart and soul of Catholic Japan. Speaking of descent, the nuclear weapon design of Fat Man was that of "implosion-type." Detonation occurred by a descent of the plutonium fission. This was different than "Little Boy," the Hiroshima bomb that used a "gun-type" that fired a uranium bullet into the core.