This Sunday is the closing ceremony of the 2020 Olympics. It was amazing to watch the athletes compete and to see the greatest feats of strength, endurance, speed, and agility across many events. The athletes train for years, dedicate their lives to their sport, and everything they do often including eating and sleeping revolve around their pursuit of excellence in their sport. There are several places in scripture where analogies are made between athletes and living the Christian life. The most classic verses are probably these from St. Paul:
I’m back from a summer break on writing this column and grateful to our summer seminarian intern Colm (no pun intended as his name is pronounced “column”) for writing some great articles this summer.
Dear Prince of Peace Parishioners,
We live in an increasingly busy world. We are sold products that offer more convenient solutions to things that were not even that inconvenient in the first place. We work and rush around to such a great extent that many people find it difficult to stop and truly rest when their schedule does clear up. Despite all the time saving devices that we have in the modern world, people seem to be having an increasingly difficult time enjoying true leisure. We fear silence and stillness, and so we fill up even our free time with activities and plans.
Christianity is unique among all of the religions in the world in that it professes Faith in a God that is both utterly transcendent and yet incarnate and closer to us than we are to ourselves. We have a God who is outside space and time and yet who took on flesh and became man for the Glory of the Father and the salvation of souls. Other religions around the world tend to pick one of the two elements. They either worship the unknowable god, or they worship the god in the forest, or the ocean, or the statue.
Today we celebrate the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, but we also celebrate our nation’s Independence Day. Today and tomorrow, all over the world, people will be gathering together to enjoy the freedom that was declared to be ours on this day 245 years ago. There are wonderful freedoms that we are afforded as Americans, but today, let us recall the true meaning of freedom. Let us turn our eyes to our Heavenly Father who sent His only Son so that we could be set free from sin and death, and so that we might come to know the glorious freedom of the children of God.
“God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living… For God formed man to be imperishable, the image of his own nature he made them.” All of us have a terminal illness, and that illness is sin and death. Death is a fact of life. No one escapes it. This fact can be a cause of great anxiety and distress for many of us, and especially in this last year it has been a particularly evident part of our lives. Many of us probably knew someone who passed away during the last year, and the thought weighs heavy on our hearts.
Father… this word permeates our lives as Catholics. We call our priests “Father,” our prayers are directed to the Father, in fact, Jesus came to show us the Father for “he who has seen me has seen the Father.” Our Faith is filled with fatherhood and so for a man to become a father is an incredibly daunting task, and so today we celebrate all of those men who have risen to the occasion and have been reflections of our Heavenly Father.
Virtual... Perhaps this is the best word to sum up what we have all endured during the last year and a half. Nearly every aspect of our lives has been touched by this word. We encounter each other on our phones and computers. Our work is virtual. Students go to a virtual school. Mass has been virtual. This virtual existence is a result of the restrictions placed on us by the virus, but it has also been the result of a culture that was already dominated by screens and in which real human interaction is increasingly difficult to experience. My favorite author G.K.
Happy Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)!!! A special welcome back to anyone returning to Mass this weekend as well. As I hope you’ve heard, this is the weekend where the dispensation to the obligation to attend Mass for Catholics in the Archdiocese is lifted. So in other words, we go back to normal, and Catholics here are again required to go to Mass. However, for those who are sick, have serious health concerns, compromised immunity, or other genuinely serious concerns about risks, they are not obliged to attend Mass.