June 25 – Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord; and you also
will testify.” (Jn 15:26b, 27a)
On this Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we find ourselves sandwiched in between the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist on June 24 and the Solemnity of Ss. Peter and Paul on June 29. John preached a baptism of repentance and the coming of the Messiah. Peter and Paul, each in his own way, proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ to the point of martyrdom. In chapter 10 of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus sends out the twelve to “expel unclean spirits and to cure sickness and disease of every kind.” He told his disciples: “Fear no one.” Give bold witness to the truth for you are in the Father’s loving hands.
In a recent issue of Glenmary Challenge I read an interesting article about Fr. Stanley Rother, a native of Oklahoma City, who served as a missionary in Guatemala. Because of his defense of the rights of the indigenous people, he was killed on July 28, 1981. Pope Francis declared Fr. Stanley a martyr in December 2016. He will be beatified on September 23, 2017 in Oklahoma City, the first American to be declared a martyr. I am watching a movie from 2010 entitled “Of Gods and Men” set in Algeria in the 60’s where seven French Trappists worked in a largely Muslim area and were eventually captured by terrorists. In this movie, the monks struggled to find common ground between Christianity and Islam. It is no easy task to be a follower of Jesus in the midst of resistance and persecution.
The United States Conference of Bishops continues its annual celebration of Fortnight for Freedom from June 21-July 4th. Through prayer and dialogue, we seek to promote the common good by respecting religious freedom. Pray for peace in Milwaukee and the world. Please mark your calendars for our common celebration of Independence Day on July 4 with a mass at 9:00 a.m. at Three Holy Women- St. Hedwig Parish.
Have a great summer.
Fr. Mike Michalski
June 18 – The Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ
“I believe in the sun, even when it isn’t shining,
and I believe in love, even when there’s no one there.
And I believe in God, even when He is silent.”
(found carved in a concentration camp, WW II)
A powerful visit in our pilgrimage to Poland was to Auschwitz. The horrors of the camp left a deep hole in my heart, and a deeper determination that the unconditional respect for all humans from conception to natural death is absolutely fundamental in the face of evil and in the pursuit of justice leading to peace for our troubled world.
On this Sunday when we exult and give thanks for the Real Presence in the Eucharist, we also accept the call of the Eucharist to be the Eucharist in our loving presence to each other, especially to those who fall through the cracks. We are called to a presence in which all are called and welcomed to the table of the Lord. We are called to a missionary presence that reaches out to those who might for any reason feel unwelcomed or unloved.
The issues are many, and as we have experienced, things will work out. Let’s start small, with those small but very significant occurrences of the Real Presence in which we let our communion with God help us to be communion with each other, especially those who need it the most.
God is never silent, but He appears to be when we his believers do not speak out and act, first in kindness and compassion, then in our actions that make the world into the place our loving Creator intended it to be.
Let’s get working! Start small, vision BIG!
Sincerely, with love,
June 11 – The Most Holy Trinity
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God
and the fellowship
of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. (2 Cor 13:13)
While we officially returned to Ordinary Time last week, which will last until December 2, these next two Sundays are celebrations of the Lord. This weekend we reflect on our God who is both one and triune: a model of community.
I remember celebrating this Solemnity with great joy when I was pastor of Holy Trinity-Our Lady of Guadalupe from 1994-2000. A few details might help illustrate how our lives are interconnected with God and each other. Originally founded as an offshoot of Old St. Mary’s Parish in 1849/1850 to serve the growing needs of German speaking Catholics, the parish adapted to the many waves of immigrants who came to Walkers Point, e.g. Slovenians. In 1966 the Mexican Mission of Our Lady of Guadalupe merged with Holy Trinity to form Holy Trinity-Our Lady of Guadalupe to accommodate the ever growing Hispanic population. By the time I left Milwaukee in 2000, there was another merger when St. Wenceslaus Parish closed and a new chapter began. The parish was renamed Our Lady of Guadalupe.
How is this story connected with the Most Holy Trinity? The Trinity is a community of Three Persons-One God. God is not static but a dynamic dance of love. God’s love spilled over into the creation of the world and human beings. We are invited to enter into communion with God and each other. We learn from today’s Scripture lessons that God so loved the world (John 3:16) that we might not perish, might have eternal life and might be saved.
The unity and diversity of the Holy Trinity is a model for all Christian communities as we seek to bridge the gaps and divisions that exist in our world. What happens in Kabul or Manchester or the streets of Milwaukee affects all of us. The only way the human race can survive is by seeing that there is more that unites us than divides us. That is why we need to rely on the Holy Spirit for inspiration and guidance.
Please pray for all our graduates, including our scholars at Catholic East, who embark on a new adventure. May you have a blessed and safe summer.
Fr. Mike Michalski
June 4 – Pentecost Sunday
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.” (I Corinthians, 12)
The great feast of Pentecost invites us to look at how we look at differences which are so inherent in the human family. Instead of fear, the early Christians were encouraged to see differences with enthusiasm. Instead of withdrawal into safety, the early Christians were invited to engagement with all the new territories and people they encountered. Instead of judgment, the early Christians were challenged to encounter with listening spirits and open hearts to the wonder of the multitudes that crossed their paths.
ENTHUSIASM, ENGAGEMENT, ENCOUNTER
What was good for our spiritual ancestors is good for us! Having just arrived back from a pilgrimage to Poland and the Czech Republic, I feel more than ever the hope the Spirit calls us to. It was a tremendously moving experience to see the crazy quilt of human beings and cultures and histories and traditions. And yet to also see God’s creative pattern in what to the human eye seems the disorder of difference.
When St. John Paul II was on his last breath, there is a story that he said: “Now it all makes sense.”
For the believers with enthusiasm, engagement, and encounter as our marching orders, it might not always make sense. But the Master’s gentle creative hand is working things out. Let’s trust that as He has in the past, he will forever help things to “make sense.”
Sincerely, with love,