Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 28, 2018
“In imitation of our Master, we Christians are called to confront the poverty of our brothers and sisters, to touch it, to make it our own and to take practical steps to alleviate it.” (Pope Francis)
Dear Friends,I am preparing to take a four day trip to our Archdiocesan parish in the Dominican Republic, La Sagrada Familia, and ask your prayers as I travel and meet our sisters and brothers to the south. The Archbishop is sending all the vicars generals so that in our tasks we might always remember the larger church and the concerns of the Gospel we are called to in whatever part of the vineyard we are living.
As I continue to co-pastor our family of four with Fr. Mike and our amazing staff, I am so grateful to be learning about issues that I always thought I “knew” a lot about, but never really experienced in an encounter with real people struggling with the issues. You “know” issues a lot better when they have a human face, a human voice, and a heart that beats, and breaks, and suffers. The common bond of human solidarity and compassion, exulted in concept, becomes so much more real when you meet other humans.
In the Gospel people are amazed that Jesus speaks with such authority that even the Devil runs. I believe it is because he started things where all things need to start, that place our Holy Father is challenging us to do, with real people we can encounter and then really love!
Have a blessed week! I am sure I will have stories to tell from the Dominican Republic!
Sincerely, with love,
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 21, 2018
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mk 1:14-15)
Just like we learn a lot about the mission of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from his famous speech in Washington, D.C. “I Have a Dream,” we see before us the inaugural speech of Jesus according to the gospel of Mark. I want to highlight four aspects of this initial proclamation as Jesus began his ministry in Galilee.
Time. The Greek word that Mark and others use is Kairos. Jesus announced this in breaking of the Kingdom of God. It is more than chronological time like 9:00 a.m. It is sacred time. Kairos is a term that could refer to a critical moment in any sporting event; it could go either way: win or lose. God entered the world in a new and exciting way. It was a moment to be mindful and alert. We too in 2018 need to be aware of the crisis that we face in a world that, as St. Paul tells us in the second reading, is passing away. Every day we see news of the lack of respect for human life. Our bishops are calling us to a 9 day “digital pilgrimage” as we pray for the protection of life from conception to natural life. You can log onto www.9daysforlife.com for more information. The annual Respect Life Mass will be held this Monday Jan. 22 at Blessed Savior Parish with a 6:30pm rosary, followed by 7:00pm Mass with a reception to follow.
Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is not a country or a grouping like a church. It is a new state of mind that leads to a new way of living. Paul again refers to the need for a new way of following Jesus. Jonah called the Ninevites to accept God’s message.
Repent. While this word used by Jesus has moral overtones, it primarily refers to a new way of thinking rather than getting stuck in the past. While the world is moving at such a fast pace, we need to be quiet and listen to the word of the Lord who teaches us as Psalm 25 tells us.
Gospel. Mark was the first evangelist and coined this term. While the word gospel initially referred to the good news announced by a runner that a military victory was won, it now referred to the mission of Jesus who is “Good News.” He came to free us from our sins and form a community centered on His message. As Pope Francis has often said sometimes Christians are so glum and don’t radiate the joy of the Gospel. It truly is “good news.”
God bless and be well.
Fr. Mike Michalski
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 14, 2018
I am happy to announce that Permanent Deacon Steve Przedpelski will be joining our team for the family of four parishes. Currently Deacon Steve’s work is with Franciscan Peacemakers, working with the issue of human trafficking, among other issues in our city. He also will be working with Anne Haines and me in various aspects of the Archdiocesan Urban Initiative.
Steve is married to his wife Debbie for 40 years. We welcome Deacon Steve, and look forward to the many ways he will help in the mission of Christ and His Church. The permanent diaconate is such a blessing for our church. Deacon Gary Nosacek, with the support of his wife, Cindy, remains on our staff, and now with Deacon Steve, we are doubly blessed with the graces their ordinations will show us!
Please join me in welcoming him and assuring him and Debbie of our prayers and support. Please also continue to pray for vocations to the priesthood, religious life, diaconate and all the lay ministries!
Sincerely, with love,
The Epiphany of the Lord – January 8, 2018
“…the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in
the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” (Eph 3:5-6)
Continuing the celebration of the Christmas season, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, formally commemorated on the 6th of January. Our Orthodox brothers and sisters celebrate Christmas this day according to a different calendar. In many countries in Latin America, Dec. 25th is the celebration of the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ. No gifts are exchanged this day. On January 6, however, they celebrate the visit of the Magi or in Spanish Los Reyes Magos. Gifts are exchanged that day. Just as some of us are used to the tradition of leaving your stocking out on the eve of Dec. 6th or of leaving a plate of cookies and hot cocoa for Santa, children in Puerto Rico, for example, leave a box with straw inside for the camels of the visiting astrologers. Another tradition connected with Epiphany is the eating of a King cake (called in Spanish rosca de los Reyes) where a small bean or plastic baby is placed in the cake. Whoever gets the lucky piece is a King or Queen. The Mexican tradition is that the lucky person has to host a party on Feb. 2nd and serve tamales.
All of these beautiful traditions remind us that the birth of the Savior was for all nations. The shepherds were the first to hear the message of the angels and they became evangelists of the “good news” after seeing the Christ Child in the manger. The story from Matthew 2:1-12 serves as a particular witness to us who live in the First World. The Savior came as a lowly child among the poor and the Magi were wealthy foreigners who paid attention to the star and the signs of the times. They were willing to take a risk and go on a long journey, consulting with the religious leaders of a religion they knew nothing about. They were willing to follow the light of the star to a place they would not have expected rather than believe in preconceived notions of God or mere human tradition.
Their lives were never the same as they returned home. This week begins National Migration Week, an event sponsored by the National Conference of Bishops for the last 50 years. The theme for this year is Many Journeys, One Family. This ties in well with Pope Francis’ initiative for the next two years focusing on Share the Journey. Catholics are called to stand with immigrants and refugees as our brothers and sisters. Pope Francis invites us to be part of a culture of encounter as we welcome, protest, integrate and promote immigrants and refugees into our midst. More information can be found on the Bishop’s website www.usccb.org.
Finally, in the light of the many mass shootings in our world last year and recognizing that about 125 people were killed by violence in Milwaukee in 2017, I invite you and your family to dedicate 2018 to working and praying for peace and mutual understanding and respect among all races, cultures and religious traditions. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
Peace and all good,
Fr. Mike Michalski