Fr. Stan’s Article

This N That

Happy summer! Now that we’re officially in the season, I hope that you’ll take time to relax, reflect, pray, and enjoy the sunshine. If we’re too busy to praise and thank God, then our spiritual batteries will run down and we’ll be stuck in the dark without hope or joy. Take time to call on the Holy Spirit to reignite your faith and love and watch your soul revive.

We celebrate today the Birth of St. John the Baptist, the last and greatest prophet who would herald the coming of the Messiah and prepare people for God’s Kingdom. Already in the womb of his mother Elizabeth, John leapt for joy in the presence of Jesus in Mary’s womb. When John began his public ministry he called people to repentance, to faithfulness to their covenant with God. In his words one could hear the echoes of past prophets who witnessed to God’s deeds and presence among His people. John fulfilled the mission assigned to him from his conception: to make a straight path for the Lord.

On this solemnity of John the Baptist, each of us can rejoice that we too have been wonderfully made by God for a special mission: to reveal His goodness and compassion. In truth we don’t just have a mission from God, but we are God’s mission. Our very existence speaks something about our creator. And while many of us may not be comfortable with our physical image, God made us to reflect His mercy and love to all people. This is the mission that our parents and godparents were reminded about when they brought us for baptism. We were chosen to go forth and proclaim good news. Even in the midst of darkness and evil, ours is the task to shine with the light of faith. We are not alone in this, for we live and move and have our being in the Body of Christ with Jesus as our head. Let all who encounter us, encounter Jesus.

I’m grateful to all who made vacation bible school this past week such a joyful encounter with the Jesus who rescues us. Thanks to the parents who provided this opportunity for 120 of our youngsters and thanks to the 80 volunteers who gave of their time and talent to pull it off. I’d like to remind you that our Sunday children’s programs continue throughout the summer. Make Mass on Sunday a part of your vacation plans.

The crosses on our parish lawn are a stark reminder of the reality that in our country life in the womb doesn’t enjoy inviolable protection. Unfortunately we also see daily where life outside the womb is unprotected and diregarded. Our prayer is for mind and hearts to change so that from conception to natural death we will respect the dignity of each person.

I’ve finally gotten over the jet-lag and the cold I brought back from Poland. My two-week trip was a walking adventure as we toured cities, castles, churches and museums from the Tatra Mountains in the south to the Baltic Sea in the north of Poland.

Since I hadn’t been to Poland since 1979 (just before Solidarity and the return to democracy in 1990), I was awed by the many changes that had occurred in the last 39 years. Among the changes is the ability to speak freely on any topic and Poles love to debate. The standing joke used to be that if you put three Poles on an island, in one week’s time you’d have four newspapers. I was impressed by Poland’s embrace of technology (they use credit cards and cell-phones just like we do), architectural design and color, super public transit, and general sense of vitality. It is quite a change from the drab communist era. Their Catholic faith and devotional life remain strong.

 

 Peace and joy,

Fr. Stan