This weekend we celebrate the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. Our Gospel passage from Luke begins with a few verses from chapter one, and then skips to chapter four. We are told that Jesus has returned to Nazareth where he grew up, and, as was customary, went to the Synagogue on the Sabbath. He stood up to read and was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He began to read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” When he had finished the reading, he returned the scroll to the attendant, sat down, and boldly proclaimed, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” This is a dramatic moment which marks the beginning of Jesus’ ministry as he announces that his mission is the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah. What has been foretold now begins to unfold. As we further reflect upon the Gospel, and the mission of Jesus to the poor, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed, let us remind ourselves that we are called to share in that mission. Let us ask ourselves how we reach out to the poor, the captives, the blind and the oppressed. Where do we encounter them? What more can we do that we are not doing? During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, how can we reach our in love, compassion, and mercy toward others?
As I mentioned in last week’s bulletin, Bishop Cistone is coming to the parish for Visitation this Monday, January 25. He will spend a good part of the day here meeting with the parish staff, taking some time to talk with me, going over the parish budget and finances with Natalie and me, looking at sacramental records, looking at all ofour buildings, and meeting with the Pastoral and Finance Councils. Bishop will end the day by leading us in Evening Prayer in church at 7:00 PM followed by an open discussion. Please join us for prayer Monday evening. Next Sunday, January 31, Bishop Cistone will return to Saint John Paul II Parish to celebrate the 9:30 AM Mass. During that Mass he will confer the sacrament of Confirmation on two of the adults of our parish. Mass will be followed by coffee and donuts in the Meeting Room at the Education Center to give the bishop opportunity to meet and greet parishioners. Please mark your calendars and join us for 9:30 AM Mass if you are able.
This is a full week for the celebration of sacraments. Olivia Josephine Meyers will be baptized at the 9:30 AM Mass this Sunday, five of our children will be celebrating First Penance on Saturday, and next Sunday, Bishop Cistone will confer the sacrament of Confirmation on Monica May Ginop and Spencer Kyle Goschke. We are blessed as a parish to have these sacramental celebrations taking place and we extend Congratulations to these individuals and their families. We anticipate celebrating several baptisms in the upcoming months: including infants and young children. We also have five Catechumens who will be attending the Rite of Election with the Bishop at the Cathedral on Saturday, February 13. At that time, they will become the “Elect,” those who will receive the sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist) and who enter into a period of intense preparation this Lenten Season.
The signup for help with the Paczki sale is going a bit slowly. We do need your help, for as much or as little time as you are available to give. Please sign up on any of the bulletin boards at the church entrances. If you are unable to help lay cardboard on Sunday or help in the kitchen on Monday or Tuesday, please consider making a dish for the workers and dropping it off at the Education Center.
Please note the Prayer for the Jubilee Year of Mercy along with the information about the pilgrimage and the Holy Doors. If you would like more information regarding the holy doors, there are pamphlets at each of the church entrances.
This Tuesday evening, please join the Parish Worship Commission for Evening Prayer at 6:30 PM at the Saint John the Baptist Church site. After Evening Prayer, there will be a short meeting of the Worship Commission members to discuss Lenten Prayer and activities.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ