The Third Sunday of Lent [A] - 27 MAR 2011


The Third Sunday of Lent [A]
Exodus 17:3-7  ¾  Romans 5:1-2,5-8  ¾  John 4:5-42
March 27, 2011

Today’s long Gospel passage seems to be about a conversation between Jesus and a Samaritan woman.  But it’s actually about something larger.  But in order to see that “something larger”, we have to begin with the conversation between these two.

St. John the Evangelist describes Jesus as He approaches that Samaritan town where Jacob’s well is found.  Jesus is tired from His journey, and so He sits down at the well.  The evangelist also notes that it was about noon, implying that Jesus—in His humanity—was tired and hot and thirsty.  Jesus is like us in all things but sin.  His human body needed water just as yours does.

But through His human need for water, Jesus leads the Samaritan woman to see that she also needs something.  But what she needs is spiritual.  Sometime during this week, sit down with your bible and read the long version of this passage from John, chapter 4.  Only a very few verses at the beginning are a discussion about a drink of water for Jesus’ physical thirst.  After those first few verses, Jesus shifts the conversation away from Himself, and away from physical need.  He continues by speaking about the spiritual need that He wants the Samaritan woman to recognize inside herself.

The spiritual thirst that Jesus describes is one that only He can provide water for.  The spiritual water that Jesus offers, He calls “living water”.  If you think about it, that’s a strange phrase.  In the physical world, it’s hard to imagine water that’s living.  Of course, water is essential for all plant and animal life, but it’s not itself “living”.  Is this phrase—“living water”—just metaphorical?  It is not.  The spiritual water that flows from Jesus does bear life.  This spiritual water flows from Jesus through two of the sacraments that Jesus gave as gifts to His Church:  the Sacrament of Baptism, and the Sacrament of Confession.
X   X   X
The Sacraments of Baptism and Confession are similar in many ways.  Both Baptism and Confession cause three changes in the person who receives them.  In both of these sacraments, the person is first of all washed clean of past sin.

In Baptism, the waters wash away all sin:  Original Sin, and (if older than the age of reason) any personal sin.  Unfortunately, many people—even many baptized Christians!—stop there when they think about Baptism.  They think of Baptism only in terms of getting to Heaven.  This reduction of Baptism is what led many in the early Church to delay their own baptism until they were on their deathbed, so that they could be more sure of getting into Heaven!  Priests were often persecuted and in hiding, so confession or Last Rites was harder to come by, while on the other hand, anyone could baptize…  It was a gamble, of course, but it seemed like the best way to ensure getting into Heaven!

You can see how self-focused this sort of thinking is:  that I receive God’s grace for me, in order to get myself into Heaven.  But Jesus did not give His life for us, so that we would make our spiritual life about our self?  Instead, the grace of the sacraments helps us live by Christ’s words that, “whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, [while] whoever loses his life for [Jesus’] sake… will save it” [Mark 8:35].

Similarly, in a sincere, valid Confession, all personal sins—mortal and venial—are washed away.  But many Catholics reduce the practice of Confession to only one aim:  getting to Heaven, by having mortal sins washed away.  That’s why many Catholics only go to confession when they’ve committed a mortal sin.  But is Confession only for washing away past sins?
                                                                                                                                                           
The second change in the person who receives Baptism and Confession is a preparation for the future.  Not just our future in Heaven, but also our future on earth:  however many days, months and years that might be.  In both sacraments, God places divine gifts within one’s soul for the sake of a stronger life on earth.

At your baptism, when God washed sin away from your soul, He put in that place the three supernatural virtues:  faith, hope and charity.  God gave these to you not only to help you get to Heaven, but also to change the shape and form, the warp and woof, of your earthly life.

Similarly, in Confession,  when God washes sin away from your soul, He puts in that place the divine gift that the Church calls “sacramental grace”.  That grace is to help you overcome your daily moral struggles more easily in the future.  If you’re like most people, you find that you confess the same sins over and over.  Some non-Catholics think that this is a pretty good argument that “confession doesn’t work”.  I wonder… do you think that any of those persons, when they go to the same doctor every winter, for the same antibiotics, because they get the same illness every year… do you think that any of them give up going to their doctor?  Or even worse, do they stop taking a shower every morning?  After all, no matter how many times they wash, they just wake up the next day dirty all over again…

That reminds me of a list that a pastor put in his bulletin one Sunday.  This pastor, for weeks and weeks, had walked up and down the streets of his town, and had gone right up to people on the street and asked them to attend church that coming Sunday.  And do you know what?  He found that all those people had pretty much the same basic reasons for, as they said, “Why I don’t go to church.”  So the pastor wrote up in his bulletin a similar list, titled, “Why I don’t wash.”  It was meant to poke fun, of course, at the reasons that those folks gave for not going to church.  But as you listen to these ten reasons, I’d like you to reflect on whether they also apply to going to confession.  Here’s the good pastor’s list:

Ten Reasons Why I Never Wash
1. I was forced to wash as a child.
2. People who make soap are only after your money.
3. The bathroom is never warm enough in the winter, or cool enough in the summer.
4. I only wash on special occasions, like Christmas and Easter.
5. None of my friends wash.
6. I'll start washing when I get older and dirtier.
7. I can't spare the time to wash.
8. I used to wash, but I got bored and stopped.
9. There are so many different kinds of soap, I can't decide which one is best.
10. People who wash are hypocrites—they think they’re cleaner than everyone else.

In confession, God gives you sacramental grace to help you cope with your sins and vices, to help your persevere through them, and—yes, eventually to overcome them to some extent.  The sacramental grace that we receive in Confession helps us spiritually to target our weak spots.  But it’s up to us to use this grace:  which is to say, to allow it to take root in our hearts and in our daily moral choices.

But why do we do all this?  Why?  That “Why?” is connected to the question mentioned at the beginning of the homily:  that is to say, what the conversation of Jesus and the Samaritan woman is really all about.  Today’s Gospel passage is not just about these two persons.  It’s also about those whom the evangelist mentions at the end of the passage:  those who began to believe in [Jesus] because of the word of the woman who testified.

These last few verses illustrate the third change that Baptism and Confession cause.  The Samaritan woman symbolizes the person who comes to Jesus, and who spiritually drinks of that “living water”.  The third change is that one becomes part of a family that is larger than one’s own self.  In Baptism, this took place through God the Father’s adoption of you, and those who become your brothers and sisters in Christ.  In Confession, this takes place through your being reconciled with both God and neighbor.  In the life of the Samaritan woman, this took place through the testimony that she gave to others because of the “living water” that she drank.

So here we can see the problem with “deathbed baptisms”.  What if the Samaritan woman in today’s Gospel passage had avoided Jesus all her life, and had waited until the end of her earthly life to drink of that “living water”?  How many people around her would never have heard her testimony, and therefore would never have come to Jesus.  The longer we wait to allow Jesus into our hearts, the longer it will be before we can be an instrument of God’s peace, and an influence on others who may have no other way of hearing about Jesus except from our lips.

Jesus gives us a share in His Body and Blood, so that strengthened, we can die to our self, and live (and die) for others.  Our own plans, our own genius, our own hopes fade away when we drink the “living water”.  God’s grace moves us to call others to the joy that we know because of Jesus Christ.


Second Sunday of Lent [A] - 20 Mar 2011

Second Sunday of Lent [A]
Genesis 12:1-4  ¾  2 Timothy 1:8-10  ¾  Matthew 17:1-9
March 20, 2011

Last Sunday, a group from our parish went downtown to our cathedral, for a ceremony called the Rite of Election, where those preparing to become Catholic at the Easter Vigil were accepted (or to be technical, “elected”) by the bishop to receive the Sacraments of Initiation.  In the bulletin this Sunday, I ask for your prayers for these three persons, and I describe a little more about the process of the RCIA.  Photographs of our catechumen and candidates are in the back of the church, on the table next to the choir loft stairs.

But getting back to this past Sunday:  when I was in the cathedral, sitting in one of the pews, my eyes were drawn to the cathedral’s stained glass windows.  If you’ve been to our cathedral, you remember that the windows there portray the Joyful Mysteries on the east, and the Glorious Mysteries on the west.  The Rite of Election was held at 6:30 p.m. (unfortunately, the same time as our parish’s Confirmation practice), and in spite of Daylight Savings Time, there wasn’t much sunlight shining through the windows.  And so I gazed at those dark stained glass windows for a long time… Why stare at darkened stained glass windows?  Because looking at stained glass windows at night is one of my Lenten customs.  Why?  Let me explain…

I’m sure that each of you have seen stained glass windows at night, when no sunlight is shining through them.  At night, stained glass windows pretty much look black.  Even if light is shining on them from inside the building, you can hardly make out what the images are of, and you certainly cannot appreciate the beauty of the windows.  And in complete darkness, all of the pieces look to be same black color:  you can’t tell what color the pieces “really are”.

So, now:  if you’re using your imagination to picture a stained glass window that’s blackened, set that image to one side.   Next to it, use your imagination to see the same stained glass window during the middle of the morning, when there’s not a cloud in the sky, and sun is pouring through each and every piece of colored glass in the window.  Can you see both images in your imagination?  Can you see the difference between the two?  If you can, then you have a powerful reflection on the Season of Lent.

These two windows symbolize the difference between the soul that is in sin, and the soul that is in the state of graceThis is why, during Lent, I’ll spend time—after dark—in a church with beautiful stained glass windows.  Looking at those windows, which to my eyes appear to be black, reminds me of what my soul looks like when it is in sin.  With my eyes open, I look at the blackened stained glass windows.  And then I close my eyes, and in my imagination, I try to picture those same windows on a clear morning, with the sun shining brightly through.  And I know that that’s what God wants me to see.  That’s also what He wants to see.  And that’s what He wants others to see, when looking at me.  But for all of us—God, others, and myself—to be able to see this, I have to approach Jesus and ask Him for His grace.

* * * * *

The scene of today’s Gospel is the Transfiguration:  the great vision, picture, image of Christ glorified:  a foreshadowing of the Resurrection.  Peter, James, and John saw this vision extremely clearly, as if the vision of Jesus, Moses and Isaiah had been a stained glass window in the middle of a clear summer morning.  This vision made clear the purpose of the apostle’s spiritual lives.  But in spite of seeing this vision so clearly, Peter, James and John did not see clearly the reason why Jesus had allowed them to see this.

At this point, the disciples had been following Jesus for quite some time:  perhaps several years.  St. Matthew, in writing his gospel account, made this narrative of the Transfiguration fall about mid-way through his telling of the Gospel, long before the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

In following Jesus around, these disciples had already endured many trials:  among other trials, they had had to sacrifice many things that were very important to them, and for much longer than just forty days, as we do during Lent.  But at this point they still weren’t sure where they were going with Jesus:  they surely didn’t expect Jesus to be crucified as a criminal, much less rise from the dead.  These disciples had simply been called by a fellow Jew who happened to be a carpenter, and who possessed miraculous powers.  It was an amazing path, but where was it leading them?  In a similar way, each of us might ask, “Where is my spiritual life leading?”

For these three disciples—Peter, James, and John—to see Jesus transfigured, and to see him speaking with the ancient Jewish prophets Moses and Elijah, was extraordinary.  But in the same way that the disciples weren’t exactly sure what to make of Jesus, so the disciples weren’t sure what to make of the vision that they saw in Jesus’ Transfiguration.  Nonetheless, here was yet a further sign that Jesus was part of a something very big.  That much, they could see.

When we promise to follow God, we make our lives part of something much greater than ourselves.  Unfortunately, on this occasion, St. Peter—who just verses earlier in Matthew’s gospel account had professed his faith in Jesus as the Messiah, and upon whom Christ declared He would build His Church—St. Peter completely misunderstands what’s really taking place in this Transfiguration.

“Lord,” he exclaims, “how good it is for us to be here!  Let us build three booths.”  In other words:  “Let’s pitch tent here and stay awhile.”  Each of us is like Peter:  when we find a winning horse in life, we continue to bet on it.  There are enough things in life that we’re unsure about.  Why leave the mountain?  This was the greatest vision of Jesus they had ever seen.  If any of us came home one day to find Jesus in our midst, wouldn’t we be satisfied for the rest of our lives simply to have Him dwell under our roof?

But Jesus, as he does continually throughout the Gospel, corrects Peter.  Jesus wants Peter to see clearly where He is leading him.  Jesus says to Peter, as He does in a similar way to you:  “You cannot stop walking the walk of discipleship.”  Jesus kept on moving, moving towards Jerusalem, and the disciples therefore had two choices:  either to demand an explanation from Jesus for where they were going, or to follow Him in faith.  Jesus kept moving closer to that Holy Week when he would be betrayed, arrested, and crucified at the top of Calvary.  For now, we see the disciples continuing to walk with Him.  But if they had asked Jesus for an explanation, and had fully understood what was coming during Holy Week, would they have continued to follow Him?  Would you?  Do you see clearly what Jesus wants you to see in your spiritual life?

Mother Theresa of Calcutta wrote a meditation about this very thing.  These words may help each of us, during this Lenten season, to focus our vision on the person of Jesus Christ:

WRITTEN BY MOTHER TERESA OF CALCUTTA

                                           
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.          
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the end, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway!



Monday of the First Week of Lent


Monday of the First Week of Lent
Matthew 25:31-46




In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus describes a real, future event:  the Last Judgment that will take place at the end of time.  To describe this future event, He uses the metaphor of sheep and goats.  And then Jesus describes the difference between these sheep and goats.  This difference is one of the most important teachings of the Gospel.

Historically, there have been many disputes between Protestants and Catholics about the role of faith, and the role of good works, in the life of the Christian.  By which do we enter heaven?  The Catholic Church, from the first century, to the sixteenth century, to today, has taught that—if you make it to Heaven—it will be because you bore both faith and good works.  Each is indispensible.  Each is indispensible, not only for personal salvation.  Each of them is indispensible for the perduring of the other.  Faith does not perdure unless it is manifested through good works.  And works without faith are not good unto eternal salvation.

Jesus’ description today of the Last Judgment—which He spoke two days before the Passover during Holy Week (see Matthew 25-26)—makes it seemingly impossible to deny the role of good works in the Christian’s entrance into Heaven.  Nonetheless, beyond any disputes that might still go on today, we need before disputing the meaning of the Christian Faith simply to live the Christian Faith.  Jesus calls us to live the Christian Faith by seeking Him in the disguise of the poor, in all the forms that poverty takes.


1st Sunday of Lent - reflection


The First Sunday of Lent [A]
Matthew 4:1-11


At the beginning of today’s Gospel passage, the evangelist tells us that Jesus “fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry.”  We might wonder why the evangelist goes to the trouble of telling us that Jesus was hungry.  Isn’t it obvious?  Who wouldn’t be hungry after fasting for forty days?  The answer, of course, is… “God.”

Jesus is both fully man, and fully God.  Those who believe this to be true have good reason, then, to wonder, “Which trumps the other in a case like this?”  That is, when there is a conflict between the power of Jesus’ divinity and the weakness of Jesus’ humanity, which trumps the other?  We might incline to thinking that His divinity would always trump His humanity, so as to “fill in” or “make up for” Jesus’ human weaknesses.

Scripture tells us that Jesus is like us humans in all things but sin.  At the beginning of Lent, this is important for us to reflect on.  We don’t (and probably can’t) understand HOW Jesus lived as both fully God and fully man.  We don’t know how Jesus could experience intense hunger pangs, and at the same time be the All-Powerful God whom we profess Him to be.

Nonetheless, the evangelists describe for us what Jesus’ earthly life was like.  And at the beginning of the narrative of the devil tempting Jesus three times, the evangelist makes a point of telling us about Jesus’ hunger.  Why?  Why does he bother to point out this detail?  Consider that the evangelist chose to point this out as a preface to describing the devil’s three temptations.

After all, when we hear the evangelist describe Jesus facing the devil’s temptation, we might think—since we know Jesus to be the divine Son of God—that these three temptations presented no attraction to Jesus.  We might think that these temptations were like gnats that Jesus shooed away from His divine Face.  Or we might think that the devil throwing these temptations at Jesus was like throwing snowballs at the sun (pardon the pun).  But when the evangelist prefaces his description of these temptations with a description of Jesus’ fasting and hunger, he’s making a point about Jesus’ humanity:  the same point that Paul makes in telling us that Jesus was like us in all things except sin.  “All things” includes temptations.

And so part of this narrative’s purpose is to underscore the difference between temptation and sin.  Jesus never gives in to temptation.  But He does face them, and He faces them squarely.  How?  Armed with God’s Word (Who, indeed, He Himself Is) and His knowledge of His Father’s love for Him.  He doesn’t live out of His desires, but instead out of His knowledge and love of God.

Pope Benedict (video & text) from Ash Wednesday


BENEDICT XVI
GENERAL AUDIENCE

Paul VI Audience Hall
Ash Wednesday, 9 March 2011





Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today the Church celebrates Ash Wednesday, the beginning of her Lenten journey towards Easter. The Christian life is itself a constant journey of conversion and renewal in the company of the Lord, as we follow him along the path that leads through the Cross to the joy of the Resurrection. The primary way by which we follow Christ is by the liturgy, in which his person and his saving power become present and effective in our lives. In the Lenten liturgy, as we accompany the catechumens preparing for Baptism, we open our hearts anew to the grace of our rebirth in Christ. This spiritual journey is traditionally marked by the practice of fasting, almsgiving and prayer. The Fathers of the Church teach that these three pious exercises are closely related: indeed, Saint Augustine calls fasting and almsgiving the “wings of prayer”, since they prepare our hearts to take flight and seek the things of heaven, where Christ has prepared a place for us. As this Lent begins, let us accept Christ’s invitation to follow him more closely, renew our commitment to conversion and prayer, and look forward to celebrating the Resurrection in joy and newness of life.

Friday after Ash Wed. - 11 Mar 2011


The Friday after Ash Wednesday
Matthew 9:14-15


The disciples of John approached Jesus….  Put yourself in the sandals of one of John’s disciples.  You are confused, and want Jesus to resolve your confusion.  You ask yourself, “Isn’t fasting a good thing?  If so, then why don’t Jesus’ disciples fast?”

Jesus’ response illuminates two related truths:  (1) that fasting is a means to an end; and (2) that fasting is only a relative—not an absolute—good.

John’s disciples likely knew that John had said about Jesus, “He must increase, and I must decrease.”  John’s disciples likely knew that they would eventually need to move from following John to following Jesus.  But perhaps they thought that as they made this move, their religious observances would become more strict, not less.

But fasting is a means that leads to the “end” of Jesus.  Although as baptized Christians we are Jesus’ disciples, during Lent we in some ways imitate John’s disciples.  We return to the desert with John not to deny Jesus, but to recall what it is to be without Jesus, and to admit that when we sin, the desert is precisely where we are choosing to place ourselves.  Our fasting is a physical manifestation of the state of a sinful soul:  in need of Jesus, and His feast of grace.

Thursday after Ash Wed. - 10 Mar 2011



The Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Luke 9:22-25


In this brief Gospel passage, Jesus first speaks to his disciples, and then “to all”.  As a good teacher, Jesus leads those he teaches gradually into the fullness of Truth (that is, Himself).  He does not teach someone more than he can bear.  At the beginning of this Lenten season, focus on the easier of Jesus’ two messages:  that is, what He speaks to us all.

Jesus begins by setting the stage:  “If anyone wishes to come after me….”  He is talking about discipleship:  the life each of us began with Baptism.  What follow are three fundamental demands of discipleship.  Which of these three do you find most difficult?

(1)  “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself….”

This demand is the simplest to describe.  We merely need to identify a desire of our own will, and keep the desire from being fulfilled.  The child who gives up sweets for Lent is an example, as is the hermit who relentlessly fasts.

(2)  “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must… take up his cross daily….”

In denying oneself, one is still self-defined:  that is, the denial is defined by the desires within oneself.  However, in this second demand—to take up one’s cross daily—one is defined by something outside oneself:  namely, by one’s cross.  One’s cross can come from many different sources outside oneself.  One’s cross can be placed on one’s shoulders by an enemy, or by those whom we wish to relieve (as in the case of Simon of Cyrene), or by God Himself.  God does not wish that we suffer, except as a consequence of the sin that man introduced into the world, and by means of which we can draw closer to Him.

(3)  “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must… follow me.”

One can take up his cross daily, yet not follow Jesus.  One can take up his cross, and carry it in one’s own direction:  into despair, or doubt or fear.  Or one may not move at all, frozen in place by the thought of moving forward with a cross on one’s shoulders.  To follow Jesus with one’s cross is to see one’s cross through to its consummation:  to the death, as on Calvary.

Ash Wednesday - 9 Mar 2011


 Ash Wednesday
Matthew 6:1-6,16-18


“Here are three things we need to be doing during Lent….”  Many homilies on Ash Wednesday begin this way, with the whole of the homily focusing on our lowly lot, our conversion, and our imposing upon ourselves the difficulties of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving or other works of mercy.  If this approach is the beginning and end of our reflection on today’s Gospel, our Lenten season isn’t off to a good start.  Why?  Because this sort of approach is about “me, me and me”:  my wickedness, my sorrow, and my efforts to show God my desire for Him.

All of these go nowhere if they do not lead us to the Father.  My wickedness is far outweighed by the bliss of God’s goodness and light in Heaven.  My sorrow is nothing compared to the joy of God over one repentant sinner.  My efforts of prayer, fasting, and works of mercy are without merit apart from the Sacrifice of the Father’s Son.

As you reflect on today’s Gospel passage, you see how it has three distinct parts.  But focus on the ending of each of these parts.  The first two parts end identically:  And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.  The third part ends similarly:  “And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.

What ought your Lent look like, based on what Jesus tells us today about our Father in Heaven?


Quinquagesima Sunday - 6 March 2011

Quinquagesima Sunday
March 6, 2011


'Quinquagesima Sunday' is the old-fashioned name for the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. It has a special name in order to focus our attention on Lent's proximity.

In that spirit, here's a reflection I wrote in our parish bulletin for this Sunday:

+   +   +

The Lord God is always giving us gifts. One of His greatest gifts is Holy Scripture. Among the very varied books of the Bible, the four Gospel accounts stand out. The gospels present to us the words and deeds of the God-man who walked this earth, and died for our salvation.

Reflection on Holy Scripture has always been venerated among Christians as one of the great means of spiritual growth. Perhaps, however, the pace of modern life keeps us from this great source of growth. Lent is a time to return to the source. If we are honestly limited in the amount of time we can give to Scripture reflection, focus on the Gospel. Specifically, focus on the Gospel passage chosen by the Church for proclamation at Holy Mass each day of the week. If you don’t have that much time, reflect throughout the week on the coming Sunday’s Gospel passage.

When you approach a given Gospel passage, imagine your self in place of each person there.

First is Jesus. Reflect on how your own words and actions ought to imitate His. This might seem presumptuous, but through our baptism, we are called to be Christ for others. If our own words and actions don’t measure up to His example, such reflection prepares us for the Sacrament of Confession.

Second are those near Jesus. One at a time, put yourself in the place of each who stands near Jesus, hears Him, and reacts to Him. There may be many: their stances, hearing, and reactions may reflect a spectrum. For example, take the Gospel passage of the Crucifixion. Picture just four of the persons who surround Jesus: Mary, the Beloved Disciple, Dismas, and the thief on Jesus’ left. You might reflect on the similarities and differences among the four, or reflect on the one who most resembles yourself.

Third is God the Father. This aspect of Gospel reflection can take the most time, but can also bear the most fruit. Our reflection would be incomplete without it. It’s in “third place” not in the sense of a “runner-up”. It’s in “last” place—or “final” place—because God the Father is our “end”. Everything ought to lead to Him. Jesus is our “High Priest”, the mediator who by His life, death and Resurrection leads us to the Father. Each baptized Christian, called to be Christ for others, ought to lead others to the Father through Jesus. Even sinners, in their sinfulness, can lead others to the Father. For a more general reflection on the relationships among God the Father, Jesus, saints and sinners, please read the 17th chapter of John, the “High Priestly Prayer” that Jesus prayed to the Father at the Last Supper.



The parish I serve

<b>The parish I serve</b>
St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Colwich, Kansas (Diocese of Wichita)