Pastor's Message - January 22, 2017
"I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD." ~Psalm 27
Dear Parishioners and Friends:
In Sunday's Gospel passage we read about John the Baptist who was arrested and put into prison for his preaching. John was never afraid to state the truth, and it came at personal cost. How hard that must have been for John who spent most of his adult life living freely in the desert under the countless stars of the night sky. Now, because of the command of King Herod, John would be placed in the dark confines of prison. He would never see the light of day again, but instead would be eventually beheaded due to the evil plotting of Herodius who hated John for his criticism of the King and her illegitimate relationship. Herodius was already the wife of King Herod's living brother Philip.
Jesus must have been deeply affected by John's arrest. The Gospel passage tells us that, upon hearing the news of John's arrest, Jesus left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea. Nazareth was his own hometown, and all that he was familiar with. He moved on and began to preach the same message that John had preached, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Then in the very next passage, we find that Jesus called forth his first two apostles, Peter and Andrew, the first beginnings of the church. They left all their fishing gear and boat to follow Jesus for an entirely new kind of fishing and adventure. This also took great courage.
Jesus knew that the path he chose would be a challenging one. He knew that preaching the Gospel and working miracles would one day cost him his own life.
January is "Respect Life Month." The Catholic Church carries on the mission of Jesus and will continue to proclaim the truth that ALL human life, at any stage, whether in utero, as a child, a teen, young adult, older adult, or senior, is sacred. No deformity, sickness, race, creed, social status, money or culture can change that fact. Human life is to be protected and valued because it is of God. It is not ours to destroy.
There will always be someone who preaches a message contrary to Catholic Church teaching about the sacredness of human life. They will say that disagreeing with the church's positions is more "modern" and makes more "logical sense" than some "outdated" or even "ridiculous" religious belief in the Church, God, or the Ten Commandments.
These "trendy" opinions are uninformed and very much misguided.
Any viewpoint or action that devalues human life is not that much different than the type of individual we see in evil King Herod. Herod, like his ideas, are not new. They are instead very, very old and violent.
Herod might have been the King and could thus behead John, but he was ultimately powerless to try and squash the message and truth of John the Baptist. Likewise, the unstoppable Gospel of Jesus Christ will continue to be proclaimed within the living Church. Let us listen once again to ". . . the voice crying out in the desert . . . Make straight the way of the Lord!"
May God bless you this week!
An Introduction to Sunday's Scripture Readings - January 22, 2017
The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the hope that you will enter more fully into the Mass
||The Beginning of Jesus' Ministry
THE PEOPLE WHO WALKED IN DARKNESS HAVE SEEN A GREAT LIGHT
This could be called the "season of manifestation". In the past few Sundays, we have seen Christ manifested first, to the Gentile world (Maji) and then last Sunday to the Jewish world (via John the Baptist). And now this Sunday
, Jesus is revealed as the long awaited Davidic King prophesied about by Isaiah and others.
In our first reading (Isaiah 8:23-9:3)
, Isaiah wrote during a time of great duress as the northern tribes of Israel were being besieged by the Assyrians. In great confidence, Isaiah foretold of a new Davidic King who would bring "abundant joy and great rejoicing"
. This same passage is proclaimed every Christmas Eve during the night Mass, heralding the birth of the Christ child.
First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the end he has glorified the seaward road, the land west of the Jordan, the District of the Gentiles. Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness: for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, as they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as people make merry when dividing spoils. For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, and the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
In our Gospel reading (Matthew 4:12-23)
, we hear this same passage from Isaiah, now being fulfilled as Matthew described Jesus' return to the very same area decimated by the Assyrians so long ago, to begin his public ministry as the new Davidic King..
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen. From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people
In our Epistle reading (1 Corinthians 1:10-13:17)
, St. Paul sought to end rivalries and division in Corinth be focusing on Christ as the true center and wisdom of the Church.
I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose. For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters, by Chloe's people, that there are rivalries among you. I mean that each of you is saying, "I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apollos," or "I belong to Cephas," or "I belong to Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.
Once again we see the ancient prophesies of the Old Testament being fulfilled in the New Testament by Jesus. This revelation helps us see that God's plan of salvation and self-revelation has been ongoing since the beginning of creation. We are called to recognize it and cooperate with it - we pray for the grace.
- Click Here for the full scripture readings for Sunday, January 22, 2017
St. Rita "God Drops" Celebrate Catholic Schools Week!
Join us at the 9:00 Mass on Sunday January 29th for an opening celebration. We'll continue with prayer services and Mass on Tuesday, January 31st at 9:15.
Some of the fun filled activities scheduled for the week are Wacky Day, Slipper Day, Class Bowling and "Soup-er Bowl" Day.
Come tour the school on Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
NATIONAL CATHOLIC YOUTH CONFERENCE
November 16-18, 2017 in Indianapolis
Have you been Called?
This is an exciting, three-day experience of prayer, community, and empowerment for Catholic high school students. It includes concerts, inspiring musicians, exhibits, speakers, large group Eucharistic celebrations, and an interactive theme park.
NCYC is open to those in grades 9-12 as of September 2017 and to chaperones over age 21.
NCYC is more than a weekend trip. It is an amazing opportunity to become connected with a small group of other high school students through a year of activities in preparation for being a pilgrim. For more information or to sign up for this adventure, contact Elizabeth Kwiatkowski or stop by after Masses the weekend of February 4/5.
Are you looking for a fun activity to get you moving this year? All women ages 18 and up are welcome to join us on Wednesday evenings from 8:45-9:45pm in the gym for some basketball fun. All skill levels are welcome – we are in it for the fun and health benefits! Join our email list for weekly updates by sending a note to Elizabeth.
High Schoolers Exploring the Road Ahead!
Breathing Space is a speaker series for our high school youth. It’s a safe place for teens to figure some things out. We will gather one Sunday a month over the next five months to tackle some of the pressing issues young people face. We have great speakers and promise a fun evening of conversation, laughter, learning and pizza too! It begins this weekend!!
Sessions are held at Holy Trinity Church
(1460 Ridge Rd. Webster)
Sunday, February 12 from 7:00-9:00pm
“Girls and Guys”
(very different and very wonderful!)
Presented by Sarah Montemaro, Licensed Counselor
-How men and women think and feel
-Dating and Intimacy, I’m in high school – what’s really appropriate?
-A fun, interactive discussion of topics offering a better understanding of male/female characteristics and how they work toward God’s plan.
Future Dates: Sunday, March 19 – Addiction
Sunday, April 23 – Social Media
Sunday, May 21 – Your Vocation (find it!)
If it becomes necessary to close school due to inclement weather, such notice will be given over the local radio stations beginning at 6:00 a.m.
The announcement will indicate that ALL WEBSTER CENTRAL SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED. Families are requested to listen to the radio and not call the School office.
There are many quick & easy ways to help support our school.