June 26, 2016
Dear Parish Family,
As we read the passage from the Gospel of Luke, we learn that Jesus has decided to journey to Jerusalem along with His disciples. Since they could not make the journey in one day, Jesus sent a few of His disciples ahead of Him to find and prepare a place to spend the night in a Samaritan town. The people of that town did not welcome them because Samaritans and Jews had cultural differences and prejudices toward each other. The disciples, in particular James and John, felt rejected and frustrated. Being led by their emotions they said, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them”
Isn’t that a human reaction which we might have when we are frustrated? Isn’t that what we wish for those who have hurt us so badly? And yet, we are called to listen to Jesus, “love your enemies.” How can we love someone who shows up in a public place motivated by hatred and takes away innocent lives? The least we can do is to repudiate those terrible events. Loving one’s enemies, at least for me, means to pray for those who are blind by fanatic ideologies, that God may touch their hearts and a true conversion will take place. Loving one’s enemies mean to pray for those who are at risk of being used by unreasonable ideologies of hatred.
Prayer is an act of love. Praying is also a way to protect our minds and hearts from wrath because this is precisely what extremist ideologies want us to be filled with. So praying for our enemies is also a healing event for us. It is also important to know that prayer does not cancel out justice. Justice should take its course regarding these terrible shootings. However, it is not in our hands; it is in the hands of the proper authorities.
May God bless us.
June 19, 2016
Dear Parish Family,
Summer is a good opportunity to find time for fun activities as well as for planning. All the ministries and parish committees are setting goals and planning activities for the coming up school year. As your pastor, you have all my support and prayers for your initiatives on making our church an even stronger community. There is a lot of planning and service being offered by the members of our staff every day. The Finance and Pastoral councils are actively participating in promoting St. Patrick’s and addressing the needs of the community.
St. Patrick’s Parish Outreach is constantly praying for and seeking ways to bring hope to those in need. The Health Care Committee continues to offer their annual events, at the same time seeking more ways to help us to be more conscious about our mental and physical health. The Cursillistas, a diocesan ministry, continue to offer their conversion retreats for men and women of our parish. The Encuentro Matrimonial is also a diocesan ministry with presence in our parish, and they accompany and pray with couples on the journey to living the vocation of married life. The Schoenstatt movement is also present in our community, and they come together to pray for and show support to one another, as they too have been called to the vocation of marriage and family life. The Pro-Life Ministry embraces the mission to bring out the gospel of life to the families of St. Patrick as well as to the community of Rochelle.
The department of Youth Ministry is finding ways to bring both the Spanish and English speaking youth of our parish together and offering them an environment of discipleship as they learn about their relationship with God. The Adult Faith Formation Committee is always finding ways to teach the adult members of our community and bring them closer to God. There is also a Communications Committee finding ways to create tools and channels of communication for our parish. I am currently praying for a men’s ministry and an Evangelization Committee.
Thank you for your willingness to go the extra mile for the sake of St. Patrick. May God reward you with many blessing for your sacrifices and commitment for St. Patrick.
June 5, 2016
Dear Parish Family,
After Easter and the Solemnities of Pentecost and Corpus Christi, we resume with the Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time. As I read and pray the scriptures passages for this weekend, I notice that both the first reading from the Book of Kings and the Gospel passage from Luke share a quite similar story. Both readings talk about a widow and her son. In the Book of Kings, Elijah stays at the house of a widow from Zarephath. She has a child. Suddenly her child dies. She thinks it is because of Elijah’s presence at her house. She understands that God has entered her house through Elijah; and therefore, God has punished her because of her sins. Elijah takes the child in his arms and goes to the upper room. There he prays to God, asking Him to bring the child back to life. God listens to the prophet’s prayer, and gives life back to the child.
The story in the Gospel follows the same theme. Jesus entered the city of Nain with his disciples and many people. They encounter another group of people who were leaving the town and going to a burial. The son of a widow had just died. Jesus felt compassion toward this mourning mother and brought the young man back to life.
From these two stories, we may conclude that God is not indifferent to the mourner. On the contrary, He is willing to comfort the sorrowful. Second, God is the giver of life; He gives and takes away life. Third, through his miracles, God invites us to believe in him.
God bless you all.
Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.