This weekend is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” proclaims Saint John the Baptist in this weekend’s Gospel, as Jesus comes to him to be baptized (a little different view of what we had last weekend!). Each day at Mass we hear these words proclaimed, when we are invited to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Jesus, before he was led like a lamb to the slaughter shared His Body and Blood with His closest friends and asked that they continue to do this in His memory. We are indeed blessed to be called to this Eucharistic Meal.
Next weekend will be the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. Next weekend we will twice hear the words, “the people who talked in darkness have seen a great light.” Even though we just heard those word a month ago at Christmas, it is appropriate to hear them again. Jesus began His mission by fulfilling the word of the great prophet, Isaiah. Next week we will contemplate the Mission we are called to and pray that we can fulfill the plan God has for us.
Upcoming: Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has instituted the Sunday of the Word of God, to be celebrated annually on the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. For the Masses next weekend, January 25-26, we ask you to bring your personal or family Bible to Mass with you. We want to emphasize the importance of the Bible in Catholic life and encourage one another to read and study it as a regular part of our lives as disciples of Jesus. During the Mass we will have a commitment and blessing prayer as you hold your Bibles. There will be a brief service to enthrone and honor the Bible in your homes printed in the Bulletin next weekend.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity began yesterday, January 18, and runs until January 25th, the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. The Church Unity Octave, a forerunner of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, was developed by Servant of God Father Paul Wattson, SA, at Graymoor in Garri- son, New York, and was first observed at Graymoor from January 18-25, 1908. Today, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity invites the whole Christian community throughout the world to pray in communion with the prayer of Jesus “that they all may be one” (John 17:21).
In 1966, the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Vatican Secretariat (now Council) for Promoting Christian Unity began collaborating as a common international text for worldwide usage. Since 1968 these international texts, which are based on themes proposed by ecumenical groups around the world, have been developed, adapted and published for use in the United States by the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute, and further adapted for use here in the Archdiocese by the Office of Divine Worship and the Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. The theme this year is (taken from Saint Paul when he was shipwrecked on the island of Malta), “They Showed Us Unusual Kindness,” Acts 28:2. In this service we will be reflecting on the crisis regarding migration throughout the world, not just in the Southern Border of the United States. As mentioned last weekend the annual “official” Archdiocesan service will be here at Saint Monica next Sunday, January 26th, beginning at 7:00 P.M. Archbishop Carlson is scheduled to be the celebrant and Father James Mason, the Rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, will be the homilist. In addition to our Saint Monica Choir, there will be other choirs represented. There will also be a reception fol- lowing in the School Cafeteria (sorry the Msgr. Schneider Hall renovation isn’t done!). There is more material about this week at https://geii.org/week_of_prayer_for_christian_unity/, which is maintained by the Friars of the Atonement in New York. In addition there are daily Scripture Readings and meditations provided by the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement.
While they started yesterday, I have run off a copy that will be kept in the Rectory. If you would like to share in this special week, please come by the Rectory and the staff will run off a copy for you. (It is also available at the website listed above.)
The “official” prayer for this year is:
Loving God, we ask that You would grant us the Spirit of Wisdom and Unity, so that we may be one, even as You are one with our Lord Jesus Christ – and He with You.
Enable all the members of the Body of Christ to live together in unity and fellowship with one another, and lead us into the paths of peace and righteousness – so that we may be well pleasing in Your sight.
We ask that you teach us how to love one another as Christ loved us and help us to show one another the unusual kindness that can only come from knowing your Son, Jesus. May the Spirit stir up in our hearts a desire to be united as one, in the bond of peace and fellowship. This we ask in Jesus’s name.
I will be using this prayer every day this week, and I ask that you do the same!
Extraordinary Ministers meeting went very well last Saturday, January 11th. All ministers who weren’t at that meeting will soon (if they haven’t already!), receive the minutes from the meeting and a few logistical changes that we will be implementing to be more in line with directives from the Vatican and the Roman Missal. Most of you “in the pews” won’t see any changes!
A warm welcome to all who are here on Sunday for the School’s Open House. We are making many improvements as we continue to enhance the learning for our children in the Twenty-First Century.
This coming Wednesday is a special day of prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.
Try to get to Mass if you can. Also later this week our 8th graders will be going to Washington, DC, for the annual March For Life. Please pray that they have a safe Pilgrimage for Life!
Another reminder that the Parish Office will be closed tomorrow in observance of MLK Day.
Fr Joe Weber