Dear Parish Family,
After listening to Jesus’s preaching in regard to the kingdom of God and the many obstacles or distractions which put at risk our salvation, someone in the crow asked Him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” Immediately a respond came from Jesus, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate. For many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” The answer was short and clear, the door is open for everyone but it does not mean that everyone will be saved. We must do merits in this life in order to be recipients of the great gift of eternal life.
As we listen to Jesus’ words in today’s gospel we come to understand that his love for every person in this world is equal. He is willing to shower every person with his Divine Mercy. In fact, he offered himself on the cross as a ransom for all. The question is am I willing to accept and embrace his Divine Mercy? We must accept God in our lives through an open profession of faith. We must seek and ask for his mercy. We must strive to live a life according to his plan for us.
The devotion to the Divine Mercy of Jesus is so beautiful. As I get to know more about this devotion and grow more in love for this devotion I learned that it is about acknowledging God’s great love for us. It is about his willingness to cleans us from our sins and faults. It is about his willingness to offer his very self to us in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. I also notice that this devotion is also very close the heart of the people of St. Patrick. We are looking forward to share this beautiful devotion to the Community of Rochelle this weekend. For this purpose we will host a booth in downtown Rochelle on Saturday and Sunday. The St. Patrick’s Float, which will accompany us through the parade, is also dedicating to the Divine Mercy.
God bless you all.
Dear Parish Family,
Having reminded the apostles and the crowd that facing the coming judgment takes patience, Jesus now goes on to speak of how difficult it will be for us to wait. He tells them that he has come to set the earth on fire. Fire is an image commonly used by St. Luke. Back in chapter 3 of Luke’s gospel, John the Baptist says to those who come to him for baptism, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3: 16). It is also St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles who describes the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles with tongues as of fire (Acts 2: 1-3).
Fire is of common use for all cultures at any given time. A benefit of fire is to warm places and people on chilly days. It also has the power to transform, to destroy or consume that which is on fire. The tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost was a visible presence of the Holy Spirit in that unique moment for the apostles. It was a transformative fire. That fire filled the apostles with divine knowledge. They were able to speak in different languages and therefore to proclaim God’s message to all.
The meaning of fire in today’s gospel is a fire which consumes and destroys. Jesus came to set the world on fire through his passion, death and resurrection. Jesus’ fire destroys death and sin and re-establishes for us the gifts of forgiveness and eternal life. In the sacrament of Confession we receive a purifying fire which wipes away our sins and brings us back to grace. We are not used to hearing these difficult words from Jesus. His words in today’s gospel nonetheless state the truth. It is necessary for us to be reminded that living nowadays according to Jesus’ teaching is not easy and will bring about conflicts; sometimes internal conflict in our own self and other times social conflicts with those who strongly rejects the Christian values. Today’s gospel is an invitation to be always prepared.
God bless you all.
Dear Parish family,
We are celebrating the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time. There are two main messages which brought my attention as I meditated with the readings for this Sunday; be faithful to God and be prepared for his coming. In the Book of Wisdom we read that before a plague came upon the Egyptian families as they lost their firstborn, God allowed the Jewish families to be prepared as they celebrated the Passover and made an oath of fidelity to God. The Jewish families in Egypt were saved from the terrible famine which came upon the people in the Egyptian territory. They were saved because they were kept in vigil and made the oath of fidelity to God.
We learned through the second reading to the Hebrews that Abraham’s profound faith in God gave him the ability to trust in Him. Abraham trusted God and set off in a journey to the promise land. Even though he did not live in the promise land for a day, he knew that the generation after him will live in that blessed land. Abraham was faithful to God because he knew his journey was doing God’s plan and his fidelity to God will turn into blessings for all.
In today’s Gospel, (Luke 12: 32-48) Jesus makes an urgent call for us to be always prepared. To be prepared for the day when God will come and bring to fulfilment his kingdom or to be prepared for the day He will call us to eternal life. He invites us to be like servants who await their masters’ return from a wedding. If we are prepared, we will be recipients of God’s great gift to us which is eternal life. Upon Peter’s question, Jesus gives us the example of a faithful and prudent steward who will be rewarded by his master for his honest work. Being obedient and faithful to God is the way. Being obedient and trusting in Him is the best way to be watchful and to be prepared. By praying we speak to God and by reading sacred scriptures God speaks to us.
God bless you all.
Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.