I. Focus for life: Resolution #2—Forgive an enemy. Jesus himself tells us to love our enemies. Who is my enemy? Anyone with whom we are at odds, had a falling out, or just annoys us. It’s not enough to say in your heart, “I forgive” this person; we must seek out this person to be reconciled. This gesture should be a physical and concrete action. The universal “sign of peace” after we pray the Lord’s Prayer is that very thing; it is not about saying “hi” to our neighbor in the pew, but about being in harmony with those with whom we have been out of sorts. “Christ is our peace, the divine peace, announced by the prophets and by the angels; He brought peace to the world by means of His paschal mystery,” stated in the 2014 letter from the Congregation of Divine Worship at the Vatican. “This peace of the risen Lord is invoked, preached and spread in the celebration [of Mass], even by means of a human gesture lifted up to the realm of the sacred.”
You must be reconciled with your neighbor before you can bring your offering and lay it before the altar. We must be “right” with others before we can present ourselves for Eucharist. “If you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your neighbor has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your neighbor, and then come and offer your gift,” Matthew 5:23-24. (Adapted from Bishop Robert Barren)
II. The Pharisee who became “Apostle to the Gentiles:” God triumphs, even in the most unlikely circumstances. Before encountering the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, Saul is full of poison and prejudice, and committed to viciously persecuting the followers of “the Way.” Although astonishing, the conversion of Paul is deeply inspiring, for it tells us that God does not hold our mistakes and sins against us, but rather calls us to ongoing conversion. Celebrated on the last day of the of week of “Prayer for Christian Unity,” not only is his name changed from Saul to Paul, but his heart and life was transformed when he encountered the Lord. “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers/sisters, you do to Me,” (Matthew 25). I invite you to the 7:00am or 12:05pm Mass on Monday, January 25. (The noon Mass will be live streamed). Paul was martyred in the Eternal City around 67AD!
III. Brescia, Italy to Owensboro, Kentucky! Angela, orphaned at 10, had a vision and founded a group of consecrated women known as the Ursulines, the first teaching order dedicated to the education of young women, especially the poor. They were named after the fourth century martyr and protector of women, Saint Ursula, to whom Saint Angela had a special devotion from an early age. Unlike the traditional customs practiced by those in religious orders, the members of this community did not wear habits, take vows, or live behind an enclosure; they sought re-evangelization of families through the education of future wives and mothers. The women often resided with their own families, but met for instruction. We are grateful to our Mount Saint Joseph Ursuline Sisters who have made such a difference in our Diocese and beyond. Let us be grateful, as together, on Wednesday, January 27, we celebrate this feast of their foundress, Saint Angela Merici, who died in Brescia, Italy in 1540. Celebrate Mass with the Ursulines today!
IV. Ecumenism: We Are One through Baptism, “the aim of promoting unity among the world’s Christian Churches,” is our charge as disciples. Catholic means “universal”—we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and we all belong to God—all of us. As the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity comes to an end, let us pray for all Christians, who are forever bound together through Baptism. We respect and honor our companions—Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Baptists, to mention a few—to prayer as one people on a common journey. “Abide in My love/You shall bear much fruit” (John 15:5–9) is our theme this year.
V. “Repentance” or “Metanoia” (literally, a change of mind), in Jesus’ language, means to make 180° change of direction in our lives. He challenges us to rethink our notion of who God is and how God acts toward us in the light of our sins. In Jesus, God is breaking into our worlds of isolation and indifference and calling us to faith in Jesus. Repentance asks that we make a complete turnaround in our lives toward God. So we ask ourselves: what real direction and big change do I need to make in my life? What will be the first step towards that kind of change?
VI. Serving the Lord: Thank you to all of our parishioners who came to the Altar Server training and refresher. We had a great turnout! Our Altar servers do so much to help us in our Liturgies at the Cathedral and we are so very grateful. A reminder during these times of COVID precautions, that single family units are able to assist and serve together at Masses. Altar Servers, while we only have space for one server to signup on the Ministry Scheduler, individual households are encouraged to serve and assist at Mass together. It’s a great way to remember what needs to be done and help each other as we help our Cathedral community to pray well!
Altar serving is not limited to a particular age. We welcome both youth and adult servers to assist us at our Liturgies. Interested? Contact Donna Tarantino at [email protected]g or call the Parish Office.