Friday of the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Today’s readings

This morning’s Gospel passage is the explanation of the parable of the seed and the sower, which we heard on Wednesday morning (and, for that matter, two Sundays ago).  What we quickly find out is that the parable is all about us.  Clearly the ideal is the good soil which produces much fruit, and just as clearly, we don’t want to be the soil on the path or the rocky soil, or even the soil with the thorny growth.  All those soils yield nothing but dead plants, hardly an offering to God or even anything that would be pleasing to us.

When we allow ourselves to have a surface-level relationship with God, one that is not nourished by devotion and worship, when we consider ourselves “spiritual but not religious,” we end up being easy picking for anything in the world that comes our way and would snatch us out of the hands of God.  Just like the seeds that fall on the path.

When we think that we can live our faith without any kind of effort on our part, we end up with a very shallow basis for that faith.  We sometimes latch on to the joy of religion or religious experience, but when it becomes hard work, as any relationship will at some point, well then, we let go of that relationship and have no way to keep growing.  Just like the seeds on the rocky soil.

When we try to live our faith and still be people of the world, we find that the faith gets choked out as our desire for more riches, more things, more prestige – or more whatever – overshadows our desire for strong relationship with God.  We can’t serve two masters, and we soon take the path of least resistance, abandoning the faith for what we think will give us more happiness, at least right now.  And when that fails us, we wither up and have nowhere to turn.  Just like the seeds that grow up with all those thorny plants.

But none of that works for disciples of the Lord.  We have to dig deep and have a faith that goes beyond the surface so that we can really know God.  We have to have a faith that is developed by embracing the hard work of repentance and devotion so that we can continue to go deep into the life of God.  We have to have a faith that is single-minded and not subject to whatever ill-winds and thorns come along; a faith that sustains us in our life of discipleship, in good times and in bad.  We have to be that rich soil which yields not only joy for ourselves, but grace for others.

The Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today’s readings

Today I want to talk about the way we worship.  And I’m not talking about wearing a mask, or social distancing, or even the rudimentary parts of worship like genuflecting or singing or observing silence, as important as those things are.  In fact, I’m not talking about worship in the sense of what we do here at church at all.  I’m talking about what we do before and after Mass; the worship we do out there in the world—the whole business of living our lives, and letting worship affect everything, because it should—in fact it has to.  The thing is, as challenging as it is to worship when we’re here in church, it’s still way easier than worshipping out there in the world, isn’t it?  But Jesus has always been clear that worship has to mean something in our daily living, or it’s not true worship at all.

You know the issue quite well, I’m sure.  We may intend to work hard, and pray reflectively, but life almost always throws us a curve ball and all our pious plans go out the window.  You know what I mean, right?  People at work don’t do what they’re supposed to.  Others in our family get into rough situations and test our patience.  Our commute is exacerbated by the pouring rain.  And it can go even deeper: news about a loved one’s illness, news about our own illness, the fear of a pandemic, and on and on.  And then we can slip up and fall into sin, that sin we have been praying hard to overcome and doing everything we can to avoid.  Our pious plans can turn into a very rough week indeed.  Really, among the blessings – and we have to admit, there are blessings – life can derail us and bring us to a rather frustrating place.

The good news is that our Liturgy of the Word speaks to all of that today, I think.  The wisdom writer in the first reading praises God who has the care of all, and who permits repentance for sins.  The Psalmist extols God who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in kindness and fidelity.  Saint Paul tells the Romans, and us, that the Holy Spirit comes to our aid in our weakness, helping us to pray the right way, even praying in our stead when we cannot.  We need all that consolation when our week doesn’t go the way we hoped.

And then we have the Gospel, which continues the theme of planting seeds that we heard last week.  Here we hear of the wisdom of God who allows the weeds to grow among the wheat and is wise enough to sort it all out at the harvest time.  This Gospel talks all about the Kingdom of God and what it will be like.  It will be like a tiny mustard seed that grows up to become a huge shrub.  It will be like a measure of yeast mixed with flour to become a loaf of bread.

Here are a couple of things I want us to take from this Gospel.  First, the Kingdom of God is now.  Jesus made it real, showing us that the kingdom is present in ordinary ways: a mustard seed, a measure of yeast.  He wants us to see that we don’t have to wait for a far-off distant Kingdom or some kind of extraordinary sign, but instead to live in the Kingdom now, where he is our King.  That means we have to put the whole of our being and our lives and everything we do in his service.

Second, the mustard seed, the yeast – that’s us.  We are the ones to come to life and make the Kingdom happen.  Jesus needs us to go out and proclaim the message, to witness to the presence of the Kingdom, to make people want to be part of it.  Our prayer, our love, our joy, all of that make it possible for people to come to know Christ.  The Kingdom of God is our true home; the rest of the world is just a road along which we are traveling.  When we live in the Kingdom here and now, when every moment of our lives is lived in anticipation of the holy presence of God, we will be ready for the great coming of the Kingdom in heaven, where all will be made right and we will live forever as one with our God.

If we’ve had a less than stellar week, we need that good news, we need that Kingdom. We need to know that God is patient, and forgiving, and allows us to come to maturity before there’s judgment. We need to know there is mercy and forgiveness, and a Spirit that prays with us and for us in our weakness. And we need to hear Jesus call us to be leaven in the world, even though we’re not perfect. He needs us to work on changing sadness to hope, directing all eyes to the One who is our true King. That, friends, is true worship.

The Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Todays’ readings

I’m not very good at it, and I don’t do it much any more, but I used to help plant a family garden.  I don’t have much of a green thumb, and I’m short on patience for that kind of thing, so for me it just doesn’t work out very well.  But I’m grateful for those times when I did plant a garden, because it really gives me an insight to the spiritual life.  What’s remarkable to me about a garden is that the seed that is planted looks, for all the world, lifeless … like something that is already dead.  It’s shriveled up and dry, so it’s really hard to believe it could give life to anything.  But when you put that dried up old seed in fertile soil, give it some water and nourishment, let the sun shine on it, well eventually it grows up to become something wonderful: flowers to delight us, vegetables for our table.

I often like to go on walks around the parish.  I’m a person who likes to see patterns and the big picture of how things are organized.  So when I pass by one of the cornfields around here, I’m often struck by the straight and orderly rows of corn that grow there.  The farmers take great care, it seems to me, to make sure they are planted that way: in orderly rows.  So when I hear the story we have in today’s Gospel reading about seed being scattered willy-nilly all over the place, some of it not even landing on suitable soil, well, it makes me wonder.

But the original hearers of the parable would have understood what Jesus was saying.  It was a method used at that time: seed would be scattered, and then the soil would be tilled thus planting the seeds.  And so they would have understood that sometimes the scattered seed falls in places that the farmer didn’t intend, and those seeds don’t come to life, or if they do, it’s not for long, but, either way, it’s no big deal.

So Jesus explains the parable for his disciples and for us.  The seed is the seed of faith.  God scatters it with wild abandon, pouring it out freely that his chosen ones – which obviously includes you and me – would come to know him.  He tills the soil of faith by sending us the sacraments, the Word of God, and his great love and mercy.  Sometimes it works: we receive the seed of faith, it’s watered in the sacrament of baptism, fed with the Eucharist and the other sacraments, and we make of ourselves fertile ground, letting it come up and grow and give life to the world.  But sometimes, of course it doesn’t work out that way.  We all know people who have received that seed of faith but haven’t let it blossom.

The seed might fall in a place where the faith is not nourished and Christ is not known.  Maybe it’s a foreign land without benefit of missionaries, and in those cases it’s understandable that the faith wouldn’t take hold.  But it could even be a little closer to home.  Perhaps the seed falls on those whose turbulent lives can’t give the seed any roots: they receive the word of God with joy, but the trials and tribulations of daily living upset everything and the faith never really sinks in.  Or, maybe it falls on us embroiled as we are with the cares of the world.  The “weeds” of our living are improper relationships, too much time playing video games or surfing the wrong places of the internet, watching too much television, wasting time on passing things.  There is so much that can distract us from our faith, and too often, we are not as diligent about weeding the gardens of our souls as we should be.

We, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, are called to be rich, fertile ground to give life to the faith planted in our hearts.  That means that we must keep ourselves fresh by renewing the waters of baptism in our hearts.  We do that by continuing to grow in our faith: by studying the Scriptures, by nurturing our prayer life, by intentionally going deeper in our relationship with Jesus who is the tiller of the soil of our faith.  We must feed that seed of faith by dedicating ourselves to the Eucharist and coming to Mass all the time, whether it’s convenient or not.  We must weed out the distractions of our lives and give that seed of faith room to grow.  We must shine the brilliant sunlight of God’s love on that faith by living the Gospel and reaching out in love to brothers and sisters who are in need.

God scatters the seeds of faith with wild abandon, because he created us in love to return to him, fully grown and abundant in the faith.  We have to be intentional about caring for the crop we are meant to be.  God gives us the seed, gives us the things we need to nurture it, but he doesn’t do all the work for us.  We have to respond to his great love and abundant grace by using what he gives us so we can become what he wants for us.

We are the ones who have been called to yield “a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”  The seed of faith comes in the form of something that might, for all the world, look dead – Christ’s saving action on the cross.  When we water and feed and weed and let the light shine on that faith, we can give life to the world around us and give witness that the world’s death is no match for the salvation we have in Christ.

Saint Benedict, Abbot, Founder of Western Monasticism

Today’s readings
Rule of Saint Benedict

It is with great fondness that I observe this feast of St. Benedict the abbot, and father of western monasticism.  My own Benedictine roots stem from my college days at Benedictine University in Lisle (which was then called Illinois Benedictine College), and I have a deep fondness for the monks of St. Procopius Abbey, who staffed the college, and in whose monastery I made my Priesthood retreat before I was ordained.  Every now and then I go there for a few days of prayer, which helps me to be ready for whatever ministry is bringing my way.  The motto Saint Benedict chose for his order was “Ora et Labora” – Prayer and Work — and for me it is a constant reminder of the balance we are called to have in life.

A wonderful source of inspiration to me while I was working in the corporate world, and still today, is reading from The Rule of St. Benedict, which is a great reflection on the balance we are called to in life.  It was also one of the most groundbreaking works of spirituality and monastic rule at that time.  It remains a spiritual classic today.  Recently, I read a quote from the rule that spoke of something the abbot of a monastery should bear in mind.  My reflection on it got me to thinking it was also extremely wise counsel for pastors of parishes, and even fathers – and mothers – of families.  It’s from the second chapter of the rule and it goes like this: 

Above all, the abbot should not bear greater solicitude for things that are passing, earthly, and perishable, thereby ignoring or paying little attention to the salvation of the souls entrusted to him. Instead, may he always note that he has undertaken the governance of souls, for which, moreover, an account will have to be rendered. And if perhaps he pleads as an excuse a lack of wealth, then he should remember what is written: ‘First seek the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things will be added unto you’ (Mt 6:33), and again: ‘Nothing is lacking to those who fear him’ (Ps 34:10).

But it’s the second to last chapter that echoes the Gospel reading today. Jesus calls all of us disciples to stop being afraid to do the right thing and trust God to make things right.  Saint Benedict says it this way: Just as there is an evil zeal of bitterness which separates from God and leads to hell, so there is a good zeal which separates from vices and leads to God and to life everlasting.  This zeal, therefore, the monks should practice with the most fervent love.  Thus they should anticipate one another in honor; most patiently endure one another’s infirmities, whether of body or of character; vie in paying obedience one to another—no one following what he considers useful for himself, but rather what benefits another—; tender the charity of brotherhood chastely; fear God in love; love their Abbot with a sincere and humble charity; prefer nothing whatever to Christ.

Friends, this is advice not just for monks, but for all of us.  When we prefer other things to Christ, when we are afraid to bear witness to the truth, we lose every benefit of relationship with Jesus.  Possessions cannot sustain us; our fears cannot sustain us.  So we have to follow Christ with incredible zeal.  When we follow Christ with this kind of zeal, Benedict says we can look forward to the ultimate reward: And may He bring us all together to life everlasting!

Friday of the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Today’s readings

Our God never promises that the life of faith and discipleship will be an easy one; only that it will be blessed. One thing is certain: that life will certainly entail hardship, even suffering. That’s pretty evident in today’s Gospel reading. Faithful disciples have to worry about being betrayed by even their closest family members.

None of this is a surprise to anyone who has tried to live the faith. Perhaps at times the hardest people to evangelize are the members of one’s own family. I’m sure we all can think of people close to us who have abandoned the faith or practice it rarely. Maybe the ones who receive the Church’s teachings least are those we would hope would get it and be partners with us as we journey to the kingdom. It happens all the time – in your family and in mine.

These are trying times. It is hard to give witness to the Truth when the culture around us wants to make its own truth. The evils of abortion and impure relationships are all but normalized now, and those who take a stand against them are considered intolerant at best, and hate-mongers at worst.  And it’s painful to see our brothers and sisters fall for the lie hook, line and sinker.  It’s hard for parents to see their children go astray, when they’ve done their best to pass on the faith.  So how do we stand for the Truth when our loved ones tune it out?  What do we do when our loved ones reject what we’ve tried to give them to bring them to eternal life?

Our Gospel tells us that what we do is persevere: we continue to live the Truth and witness to our faith.  If those close to us tune out our words, then we have to be all the more attentive to our actions, to our lived witness, so that they can see that we live what we preach and believe.  We have to depend on God to give us the right words and help us to do the right things so that we won’t be a stumbling block.  And then we have to trust in God to work it all out in his time.

None of this is going to be easy, but Jesus tells us that the one who endures to the end will be saved.

The Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today’s readings

In my study of Scripture, the Liturgy, and the Lectionary, I’ve always been encouraged by the fact the Liturgy of the Word for these summer Ordinary Time Sundays is designed to offer us a kind of toolbox for living our Christian discipleship.  And that’s important because discipleship isn’t an easy thing to live, and it would be far easier to just throw it aside and never give it a second thought, which is what too many people do.  But it can’t be that way for us; we know the Lord and have experienced his love, and so the only thing we can do in the face of that love and mercy is live the life he has called us to live.  The only option for us is being disciples.  And it’s not insurmountable for us, because we have the roadmap, the instructions if you will, for living that life.  We call them the Gospels.

So these Gospel readings during the summer and fall give us the tools we need to live the Christian life.  The tool we are being offered today is the tool of the virtue called humility.  Now, you may be thinking, “Well, no thanks, actually.  I may just leave that particular tool in the toolbox.”  Because being a person of humility in our culture can be seen as something of a character flaw.  For decades, maybe even longer, our society has encouraged us to toot our own horn, to look out for number one.  “Believe in yourself” has been the mantra of Oprah and Joel Osteen, and all those other self-appointed gurus.  But we have to remember that we have not been breathed into existence in the image of Oprah or Joel Osteen.  We have been created in the image and likeness of God, and so we need to emulate our God as closely as we can.

So what does our God look like?  Well, Zechariah gives us a pretty clear portrait today: “See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass.”  So our Savior was prophesied to be meek and just, and far from coming into the city riding on a mighty horse of a king, he comes in on a donkey, the beast of burden employed by the poor.  And that’s just how Jesus was, wasn’t he?  He could have insisted on his glory as our God, could have chosen not to take on our feeble and flawed flesh.  But he didn’t.  He humbled himself, becoming like ourselves in all things but sin.

So today, Jesus invites us to that same kind of humility.  He invites us to take his yoke upon our shoulders.  A yoke back then was an implement that kept the oxen together so they could work the fields. 

So a yoke implies a few things.  First, it’s going to be work.  That’s what yokes are for.  So when Jesus says he’s going to give us rest, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be some work involved.  Disciples have work to do in this world, living the Gospel, witnessing to God’s love, and reaching out to a world that needs hope and mercy and grace.

Second, a yoke meant that more than one animal was working; they were working together.  So as we take Jesus’ yoke upon us, we are yoked to him and we are yoked to other disciples.  Jesus calls us to work for the kingdom, but never expects us to work for it alone.  That’s why his burden is easy and light: it’s still a burden, but we never ever bear it alone, Christ is always with us, and we always live our discipleship in community with other believers.

This model of working for the kingdom leads us right back to humility.  If we are yoked to the community and to our Savior, that means that we can’t take sole credit for the mighty things we are able to do.  Yes, we can do great things, but we do them because he has transformed us and has taken the yoke with us; we do them with the help of other disciples to whom we are yoked for the particular purpose of being God’s presence in the world.  We are no longer men and women in the flesh, as Saint Paul says today, we are people of the Spirit, with the Spirit of Christ in us, and so in Christ we cast aside those deeds of darkness and, taking his yoke, we accomplish the work Jesus has given us.  Saint Augustine once said, “Humility must accompany all our actions, must be with us everywhere; for as soon as we glory in our good works they are of no further value to our advancement in virtue.”

And that is our goal as disciples: to advance in virtue. Some days, that’s very hard work. But we never have to go it alone, if we are truly humble people working in the image of our God.

Independence Day

Today’s readings: Ezekiel 3:17-21; Psalm 8; Colossians 3:9b-17; Matthew 25:31-46

Today, as we gather on this Independence Day, we celebrate our birth as a nation, two hundred and forty-four years ago. This is a day that causes us to rejoice over the end of oppression, the freedom to be governed in a way that protects our interests. Indeed that very word “freedom” is the word that immediately comes to mind on this ubiquitous national holiday.

But, as I have often preached, freedom is a concept that is very frequently misunderstood, and very often imagined according to one’s own selfishness.  That couldn’t be clearer than it is on this particular Independence Day, celebrated as it is during a pandemic and amid heightened racial tension and social unrest.  These crises have shown a rather harsh light on our understanding of freedom and what it actually means.

Our nation’s founders knew the importance of the common good.  For them freedom meant the ability to pursue that common good so that the nation could grow and prosper.  Indeed these concepts were considered to be obvious ones, as is evidenced in the document that we celebrate today, the Declaration of Independence.  Listen to what it says:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  The exercise of these rights was considered an exercise for all, not just some, and the exercise of one’s own rights was considered to be in relation to the exercise of the rights of others.  That’s the concept of the common good.

But somewhere along the line, I think we’ve allowed selfishness to replace the common good.  “Look out for number one” has been a concept that has come to the forefront over the last few decades, and, obviously, to our detriment.  Right now we see it clearly in terms of the pandemic: people don’t want to wear a face mask, they don’t want to social distance, they just want life according to their own terms, regardless of whether that occasions a surge in illness and death.  We see it clearly in terms of racial injustice: people continue to marginalize others so that they can get ahead, they profit off of white privilege and they ignore the marginalized.  We see it in city violence: people think nothing of taking the life of another human being. 

In the year 1863, then-president Abraham Lincoln mused in his Gettysburg Address whether this nation could “long endure” given the civil war that was raging at the time.  One might wonder the same thing given the selfishness that has run rampant today.

I think we can, but it’s going to take strong leaders with a sense of integrity, who know the concept of the common good.  It’s going to take great thinkers who can discern truth from logical fallacy.  It’s going to take a people that insist on the best from its leaders, and from themselves, so that we can build up this great nation with the ideals our ancestors enshrined at the nation’s founding.

We need to start getting things right.  As Saint Theresa of Calcutta would say, we can’t expect people to pursue the common good when a mother can kill the baby in her womb.  We can’t insist that people “find their humanity,” as the Mayor of Chicago has urged, when people can have abortions at will, at any time, for any reason or no reason at all.  Death begets death, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that we find ourselves with rampant city violence, ignorance of safety protocols to control a pandemic, and renewed signs of racial injustice.

Jesus makes the common good very easy for us in today’s Gospel.  Whatever we do, we do it to him.  Have we fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick?  Have we taken care to prevent the spread of disease, to seek the inclusion of those marginalized because of their race?  Have we taken a stand against abortion and all the death it begets?  Then we have done those things for Christ and have contributed to the common good.  But when we have neglected those things, when we have chosen not to take a stand for them, when we have been comfortable with the way things have become, we have offended our God and detracted from the common good.

Our ultimate freedom is the freedom we enjoy in Christ.  It is a freedom from sin and the ultimate effects of death, but also a freedom to become the beloved sons and daughters we were created to be, a freedom to pursue justice, peace, inclusion, love and wellness for the common good.

These, friends, are the truths we hold to be self-evident. These are the truths that, when we pursue them, ensure that our nation can long endure. May this Independence Day find us insisting on the common good, and pursuing the well-being of all of us with all our hearts.

Thursday of the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Today’s readings

Amos and Jesus are prophetic voices that we hear in our Scriptures this morning.  Unfortunately, as is often the case with prophets, neither is a welcome voice.  Amos makes it clear that he is not speaking on his own, or even because he wanted to.  If it were up to him, he’d go back to being a simple shepherd and dresser of sycamore trees.  But he knows that the Lord was using him to speak to Amaziah, and he had no intention of backing down. 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus could have cured the paralytic with one touch and without much fanfare.  But that wasn’t what he was there to do.  He was there to preach forgiveness of sins by the way he healed the paralyzed person.  Jesus used that simple situation of healing to be a prophetic voice in the world, saying to everyone present that real healing only comes about through the forgiveness of sins.

I think it’s important to note that being unwilling to accept prophetic witness has its price.  By refusing to hear the word of Amos, Azariah was doomed to destruction.  Not because our God is a capricious, spiteful deity, but because Azariah was unwilling to accept God’s mercy and protection.  On the other hand, the faith of the people who brought the paralytic to Jesus opened that man’s life to God’s healing and mercy.  Prophetic words are often hard, but they also bring healing.

That unnamed paralyzed person could be you or me today, or someone we’ll meet during this day. Who among us is not paralyzed by sin in some way? To whatever extent we are the ones in need of healing, may we all hear the prophetic voice of Jesus saying to us: “Your sins are forgiven. Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”

Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

Today’s readings

Today we celebrate a feast of great importance to our Church.  Saint Peter, the apostle to the Jews, and St. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, come together to show how the Church is truly universal, that is, truly catholic.  There are similarities between the two men.  Simon’s name is changed to Peter after he professes belief in the Lord Jesus, and Saul’s name is changed to Paul after he is converted.  Both men started out as failures as far as living the Christian life goes.  Peter denied his Lord by the fire and swore that he didn’t even know the man who was his friend.  Paul’s early life was taken up with persecuting Christians and participating in their murder.  And both men were given second chances, which they received with great enthusiasm, and lived a life of faith that has given birth to our Church.

In today’s Gospel, Peter and the others are asked “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  Both Peter and Paul were committed to the truth about who Christ was.  They had too much at stake.  Having both failed on this early on, they knew the danger of falling into the trap.  So for them Jesus could never be just a brother, friend or role model – that was inadequate.  And both of them proclaimed with all of their life straight through to their death that Jesus Christ is Lord.  We too on this day must repent of the mediocrity we sometimes settle for in our relationship with Christ.  He has to be Lord of our lives and we must proclaim him to be that Lord to our dying breath.

Both Peter and Paul kept the faith, as Paul says in today’s second reading.  If they hadn’t, it’s quite possible we would never have had the faith today – although that was certainly not God’s plan.  But because they kept the faith, we have it today, and we must be careful to keep the faith ourselves.  Too many competing voices in our world today would have us bracket faith in favor of reason, or tolerance, or success, or being nice, or whatever.  But we can never allow that, we can never break faith with Saints Peter and Paul, who preserved that faith at considerable personal cost.

Perhaps Saints Peter and Paul can inspire our own apostolic zeal.  In this time of pandemic, our apostolic zeal can be to heal the sick: by wearing a mask, and being careful in hygiene, and keeping social distance, so that we can stop the spread of the disease until a cure can be found.  In this time of social unrest, our apostolic zeal can be to embrace the marginalized: to reflect on any traces of racism in our own lives and root them out, and to stand with our brothers and sisters of color, not just in this moment, but from now on, so that they will never be marginalized again.  Our apostolic zeal is similar to that of Saints Peter and Paul: it comes about because Jesus is Lord, and that truth is forever important.

Then, as we bear witness to the fact that Jesus is Lord of our lives and of all the earth, we can bring a banal world to relevance.  Perhaps in our renewed apostolic zeal we can bring justice to the oppressed, right judgment to the wayward, love to the forgotten and the lonely, and faith to a world that has lost sight of anything worth believing in.  To paraphrase Cardinal Francis George, of blessed memory, the apostolic mission still has a Church, and it’s time for the Church to be released from its chains and burst forth to give witness in the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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