Again, I am continuing to write a message in the absence of Father Kuzma who is in Florida. His flight went well and he is doing good work for the parish he is staying at and hopes to soon begin a writing project. He counts on our prayers and assures us of his. He “really misses” winter. Being with Fr. Francis and the staff is such a blessing; everyone still looks well behaved. On the behalf of Father Kuzma, Father Francis and myself, we want to thank all of you for your prayers, Christmas cards and gifts. You are so kind to us and we appreciate you all.
Ordinary Time began the day following the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord which was last Monday, the end of the Christmas Season. At the beginning of Ordinary Time, the Church presents many dimensions of the ministry of Jesus and especially the calling of his disciples.
On the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, in the first reading we hear about the Lord who called Isaiah to be his Prophet; in the second reading we hear of Saint Paul who was called to be an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. Then in Saint John’s Gospel we hear Saint John the Baptist fulfill his prophetic role as the one who identifies Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and baptizes with the Holy Spirit.
At baptism everyone receives a calling to share in the discipleship ministry of Jesus Christ: Priest, Prophet and King. Bishops and priests have a direct calling to share in this ministry: Sacraments, prayers and personal sacrifices (priest); preaching and teaching (prophet) and administration (king). Religious and lay people are also called to participate in many diverse ministries and their roles are simply irreplaceable.
The Church would never have known a Saint Augustine without the great faith of his mother Monica and the guidance of Saint Ambrose. Saint Therese of Lisieux was taught how to love God by her parents: Saints Louis and Zelie Martin. Saint John Vianney and Saint Padre Pio said that their parents were holier than them. May we never underestimate the power of fervent, humble and frequent prayers, of offering suffering without complaining, of participating in the Eucharist and Confession, of sharing our faith when appropriate and of treating everyone with kindness. Our prayers, sacrifices and witness are absolutely needed.
I conclude with two great advices from our heavenly friends: “The Eucharist is the secret of my day. It gives strength and meaning to all my activities of service to the Church and to the world.” – Saint John Paul II; “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” – Saint Mother Teresa. May God bless you and Our Lady and Saint Joseph guide and protect you always.
Fr. Luc (Retired Priest)