My dear parishioners and friends of our parish community: Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever!
Sunday, January 25th, 2009 celebrates the “50th Anniversary” of the first announcement by Blessed Pope John XXIII of his intention to summon the Second Vatican Council. Fifty years ago today, on January 25th, 1959, Blessed Pope John first spoke the words “Ecumenical Council” to the College of Cardinals in Rome.
Inspired by his pastoral experience, the Holy Father announced that it was time for the Catholic Church to meet the challenges and changes of the modern world. Perhaps you remember this news and the call of Blessed Pope John XXIII to respond to this immediate task at hand.
In today’s Gospel, on the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sts. Peter, Andrew, James and John respond without hesitation and in a radical way to Jesus’ command. January 25th also celebrates the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle. In this Jubilee year dedicated to Saint Paul the Apostle, we think of his radical change from a persecutor of Jesus to a firm believer! The change in St. Paul’s life was immediate. Jesus spoke, and Paul responded!
As the Gospel reading shows us, being disciples of Jesus entails some kind of break with the past, perhaps reordering family relationships and life priorities. It seems that the early Apostles Saints James, John, and Paul left their economic stability behind as well! While presumably they would have to be concerned about how they were going to make it financially, their choice to follow Jesus shows they were choosing to center their whole lives around a person and a message of Good News. Jesus is the Son of God, a powerful teacher and healer, a person with authority.
Jesus and His message would now be the ordering principle for their lives, economic decisions and other decisions about relationships would follow from their commitment to Jesus.
You and I accepted Jesus’ call to discipleship in the Sacrament of Baptism. For most of us, our parents responded to this call for us. Later, on the day of our Confirmation, or for the priest, on the Day of Priestly Ordination, we freely opened our lives in service to the Gospel of Jesus. Jesus Christ IS the center of our life! Every day, we have opportunities to bring Jesus to this ever-changing modern world.
The flame of that new Pentecost will be rekindled as long as today’s Catholics reacquaint themselves with the new life and spirit of the Second Vatican Council through the teachings and writings of our present Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. In this way, we will renew our baptismal commitment to be faithful and faith-filled disciples of Jesus today.
Pleasant Winter Sunday to all of you!
Blessings in this Jubilee Year of St. Paul!
Happy Catholic Schools Week 2009!
Fishers of Men