The Fifth Sunday of Lent [B]

The Fifth Sunday of Lent [B]
Jeremiah 31:31-34  ─  Hebrews 5:7-9  ─  John 12:20-33
March 25, 2012

“Amen, amen, I say to you:  Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat.”  [John 12:24]

               He doesn’t seem to answer them.  Did you notice that?  They asked Jesus a question, and the answer He gives doesn’t seem to correspond at all!  Has this ever happened in your prayer life?  Have you ever gotten mad at God because you ask Him what seems like a simple question, and He either:  (A) doesn’t answer; or (B) gives an answer that seems off in left field?  If so, today’s Gospel passage has something to show you.
ó   ó   ó
               Actually, Jesus does answer their question.  They’re Greeks—foreigners—who are in the Holy Land for Passover.  Their request is simple:  they want to see Jesus.  Most of our requests of God are simple.  I’d be willing to bet that most of you don’t make elaborate requests of God, asking Him for a million dollars, or a new sports car, or a round-the-world cruise.  We know better.  We know that God doesn’t answer splashy, flashy prayers.  And so we make simple requests, such as:  “we would like to see Jesus.”
               But these foreigners’ simple request doesn’t get them a simple answer.  In reply to their simple request of six words—“we would like to see Jesus”—Jesus answers them with 118 words.  He has a lot to say in response to their simple request.  But it’s not just the length of what He says that overwhelms.  Listen to what Jesus shows us in His words.
               The word “hour” is the key to what Jesus is driving at.  Jesus uses the word “hour” three times in these 118 words.  He’s not using this word in the practical sense of “sixty minutes”.  He’s speaking of His “hour” in the spiritual sense of focus; in the sense of goal; in the sense of His vocation on earth.  Here the entire Gospel is reaching its point.
               Jesus was sent into our world for only one reason.  He was not sent down here to work miracles.  His miracles only serve to prepare people to accept His vocation for who He is.  He was not sent down here to teach.  His teaching only serves to prepare His disciples to live His vocation in their lives.  Jesus’ vocation is to die on the Cross:  It was for this purpose that [Jesus] came to this hour.  To see Jesus at this “hour” is to see Jesus for who He is.
               These foreigners, when they ask to see Jesus, don’t realize what they’re asking.  Most likely they’re simply asking for an audience with Jesus.  It’s not that these foreigners are like the man born blind.[1]  It’s not their corneas or retinas causing the problem, but the crowds.  Today’s Gospel passage is from the twelfth chapter of John, and this event took place right after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, just days before His Death.  Jesus was now well-known—famous or infamous, depending upon your point of view—but surrounded by crowds nonetheless.  So if you were a foreigner, you had to know someone who knew someone to get to Jesus.  This sheds some light on why the Evangelist mentions that these foreigners chose Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, for help in getting to see Jesus.
               Jesus reveals to these foreigners that He’s going to grant their request very soon.  Jesus knows, though the foreigners don’t, that His death is only days away, and His death is the answer.  The last two sentences of today’s Gospel passage show this.  Jesus concludes His long response to them by declaring:  “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”  He said this indicating the kind of death He would die.
               Jesus’ death is the answer to their request.  They may have been wanting an audience with Jesus.  But Jesus wanted something else.  Jesus wanted these foreigners to see Him for who He truly is:  the God whose love is such that He would die in order to reconcile them with God His Father.
ó   ó   ó
               God does not always answer our requests as we want.  He does always answer our requests as He wants.  Maybe that sounds obvious:  God always answers our requests as He wants.  But what’s even more obvious, the older we grow, is that what we want and what God wants are too often not the same thing.  In other words, our individual human will is not united with God’s will.  This is where spiritual and moral growth take place in a Christian’s life:  in us answering, in our heart of hearts, the rhetorical question, “Is our prayer about getting God to agree with what we want, or is our prayer a means by which to see into God’s Will, and to grow into it?”
               On the Cross, Jesus draws everyone to Himself.  God wants everyone to see Him for who He is, and nowhere is it more clear who He is then when Jesus is lifted up from the earth.  But God never over-rides human free will.  In his fallen human nature, man may have weak and sinful freedom.  But even in weakness, man is still free.  God draws everyone to Himself, like a current drawing objects downstream.  But each of us is free to swim against the current if we will to do so.
               In the Cross, your individual, fallen human will conforms to God’s divine will.  You have to want to be there.  You have to want to be with Jesus in the Hour that is coming soon:  in that very moment of sacrificing the self, which gives us the chance to love as God loves.

[1] John 9:1-41.  This Gospel passage is proclaimed on the Fourth Sunday of Lent in “Year A”.

The Fourth Sunday of Lent [B]

The Fourth Sunday of Lent [B]
II Chronicles 36:14-16,19-23  ─  Ephesians 2:4-10  ─  John 3:14-21
March 18, 2012

“But whoever lives the truth comes to the light….” [John 3:21]

               Saint John the Evangelist is the only one of the twelve apostles not to suffer martyrdom.  That’s why, on the feast day of every other apostle, the priest, deacon and chalice bear red vestments:  to reflect the apostles’ blood, shed freely to spread the Gospel.  But on the feast of St. John—December 27th—the vestments are white, reflecting the purity of his faith in Jesus.  St. John died an old man, after suffering exile for many years on the island of Patmos, in the eastern Mediterranean.
               St. John the Evangelist is unlike the other apostles in another way, also.  He was the only apostle to stand fast at the foot of the Cross.  For three hours, while Peter shrank, James cowered, and Judas Iscariot—already having despaired—hung from a tree,[1] St. John stood fast at the foot of the Cross.
               It’s hard to say whether these two features of St. John’s life are related.  That is:  was it God’s Providence that St. John was the only apostle to live to old age, in order that he might have time, first, to pray and reflect on what he saw on Good Friday, and second, to record it in his account of the Gospel, his three letters, and the Book of Revelation?  All the apostles saw Jesus risen from the dead,[2] but only one apostle saw Jesus sacrifice His Body and Blood on the Cross.  Surely that perspective influenced his account of the Gospel.
               One of the unique features of John’s Gospel account is the extent to which he comments on the words and actions of Jesus.  Take today’s Gospel passage, for example.  This passage is eight verses long, but only two of them give Jesus’ own words.  The other three-fourths of the passage are Saint John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, commenting on what it means to believe in the Name of the only Son of God.
ó   ó   ó
               “Whoever lives the truth comes to the light.”  Light is one of the most obvious “facts” of the natural universe.  Without the sun, for example, our planet couldn’t support life.  During periods of the year with little sunlight, rates of depression go up.  Just last weekend we “sprang forward” and began enjoying an extra hour of light each evening.  Isn’t that one of the best things about summer, when we still have light outdoors after 9:00 p.m.?  It’s not just the warmth of summer that we enjoy, but also the light.  Light allows us to remain active.
               St. John is commenting on something somewhat similar.  He describes moral choices in terms of light or darkness:  “everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light….  But whoever lives the truth comes to the light….”  In the moral life, light symbolizes truth.  In common English, when we say that someone fears his actions “coming to light”, we mean that someone fears his actions becoming known.  Along this line, St. John explains that one person does not come toward the light in order that his action will not become known.  On the other hand is the person who comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen.
               But what St. John has to say about morality goes further.  It’s Saint John who in his first letter reveals the truth that “God is light”.[3]  And it’s St. John who reveals the truth that Jesus is “the light of the world”.[4]  Nowhere in the Gospel account of Matthew,[5] or Mark, or Luke, does Jesus call Himself “light”, but only in John, where Jesus calls Himself “light” three times.[6]  St. John reveals that God, by His very nature, enlightens by showing the truth.
               Now:  relate this to what St. John saw standing fast at the foot of the Cross.  To the Romans, Jesus’ crucifixion was punishment for threatening their rule.  To the Jews, Jesus’ crucifixion was ironic justice for a man who claimed to be their Messiah.  But the Beloved Disciple saw infinitely more:  to St. John, Jesus’ crucifixion was a two-fold icon.  Just as Jesus is truly human and truly divine, so the icon of Jesus’ crucifixion is two-fold.  To St. John, Jesus’ crucifixion is the icon of God’s love for him, and the icon of St. John’s own vocation as a beloved disciple.
               The icon of the crucifixion reveals the measure of God’s love for man, and in this, reveals God’s measure for man’s love for God.  The two are one in the Sacrifice of Jesus.
               When you consider the state of your own moral life—say, during Night Prayers in looking back over the choices of the day; or, kneeling in a pew, preparing for the Sacrament of Confession; or, in reflection during a weekend retreat—you have to have something to serve—so to speak—as a measuring stick.  This is an important part of effectively assessing your moral life.  You can purchase many differing pamphlets or booklets to help you make an examination of conscience.  Each may employ a measuring stick different from all the rest.
               But God uses only two measuring sticks.  The first is the vertical beam of the Cross, that stretches from earth to Heaven:  that is, the command to love our God.  The second is the horizontal beam of the Cross, against which the hands of Jesus were nailed:  that is, the command to love our neighbor.
               There is no better place to spend your life than at the feet of Jesus.  If He is hanging from the Cross, it’s there that—gazing upon His self-sacrifice—we will grow in our understanding and our resolve to stand fast with Him.

[1]  Matthew 27:5.
[2]  This, in fact, defines the role of an apostle:  see Acts 1:22.
[3]  1 John 1:5.
[4]  John 8:12; 9:5.
[5]  In Matthew 5:14, Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount calls His disciples “the light of the world”.
[6]  John 8:12; 9:5; 12:46.

The Third Sunday of Lent [B]

The Third Sunday of Lent [B]
Exodus 20:1-3,7-8,12-17  ─  1 Corinthians 1:22-25  ─  John 2:13-25
March 11, 2012

“…He knew them all, and did not need anyone
to testify about human nature.” [John 2:24-25]

               Last Sunday evening, many of you grew in your Catholic Faith.  You gained insight into our parish’s patron saint, and the Gospel account he wrote.  At the far north end of our church, and at the far south end, there are images of Saint Mark the Evangelist:  one in stained glass, and the other in a statue.  In both cases, at the feet of St. Mark lies a ferocious animal.  No, it’s not Johann, but an even more ferocious creature.  For over one thousand six hundred years in Catholic art, this creature has symbolized Jesus as St. Mark portrays Him.  After Mass, if you leave by the south end of church, look at the base of St. Mark’s statue.  If you leave by the west exit, stand in front of the Communion rail before you leave and look for this creature in St. Mark’s stained glass window.
               As you heard me say many times in the months leading up to last Sunday’s Generations of Faith, one reason for focusing on St. Mark was that we’re in the Church year when the Sunday Gospel comes from Mark… usually.  Usually, but not every Sunday:  for example, this Sunday.  The reason we don’t hear from Mark every Sunday of this year is because Mark is the shortest of the four Gospel accounts.  Throughout this year, you’ll hear the Church supplement Mark by also proclaiming passages from the Gospel account of Saint John.
               If you were to place the four Gospel accounts along a spectrum, Mark would be at one end, and John at the other.  They’re opposites in several ways.  For example, Mark’s was the first of the four Gospel accounts to be written; John’s was the lastMark is the most “down to earth” Gospel account:  its portrait of Jesus is “lean and mean”.  John, on the other hand, is the most lofty Gospel account.  Its portrayal of Jesus’ words and actions is frequently supplemented by third-person commentary from the evangelist:  a perfect example occurs at the end of today’s Gospel passage.
ó   ó   ó
               There are thirteen verses in today’s Gospel passage.  The first eight tell a story.  St. John the Evangelist concludes the story in the next two verses, where he offers his own commentary on the story.  But the three verses after that are unique.  Here St. John rises to the level of poetic tragedy.
               On that day so tragic that we call it “Good Friday”, Jesus hangs on the Cross for three hours.  He is crucified between two other men.  Above His head is an inscription written in three languages:  Hebrew, Greek and Latin.[1]
               St. Paul proclaims in today’s Second Reading that “Jews demand signs”.  While “Greeks look for wisdom,” and Romans respect brute force, the “Jews demand signs”.  We hear this to be true of the Jews in today’s Gospel passage:  after Jesus initiates conflict in the Jewish Temple, “the Jews answered and said to Him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’”  Jesus shows them verbally the sign of the Cross:  “‘Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.’”  On Good Friday, Jesus proclaims the sign of the Cross by sacrificing His Body and Blood on it.  The Jews reject both His word and His sacrifice.
               At the end of today’s Gospel, St. John comments on the Jews’ response to Jesus.  This is all taking place during the first Passover of Jesus’ three-year public ministry.  Take a step back for a moment and look at the whole of John’s Gospel account:  today’s Gospel passage occurs very early on—in Chapter Two—of John.  John is the only one of the four evangelists to describe the last three Passovers of Jesus’ earthly life.[2]  The events of today’s Gospel passage, then, are taking place two years before the events of Holy Week.  We might ask, then:  “Why does the Church proclaim this Gospel passage during Lent?”
               Lent is a season of sorrow and bitterness.  St. John paints the lines of bitterness and sorrow in his portrait of Jesus here.  Two years before Jesus’ Passion and Death on the Cross, “while He was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in His Name when they saw the signs He was doing.”  That sounds great:  the Gospel must be working!  “Many began to believe in His Name”!  Jesus’ ministry is growing successfully, right?  and it’s only the second chapter of the Gospel!
               If God the Father had sent His son to save us by miracles, the Jews’ response might have brought joy to Jesus’ heart.  But the evangelist reports something far different:  “Jesus would not trust himself to them because He knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.”  Whether John’s commentary here is more poignant or pregnant, it’s hard to say.
               John’s commentary here is pregnant because it foreshadows the events of Holy Week.  God the Father did not send His Son to save us through a miraculous sign, but through a sign of failure:  betrayal, false condemnation, public humiliation and physical torture all led to the sign of the Cross.  The Cross on Calvary was meant to serve as a human sign, and a divine sign.  Humanly, Jesus had His hands and feet nailed to a cross at the top of a mountain:  this was meant by sinful rulers to serve as a sign for anyone who might dare to reject the rule of the Romans and the Law of the Levites.
               As a divine sign, the Cross is poignant.  The sign of the Cross reveals that God’s very nature, His divine Life, is a paradox.  St. Paul makes this plain to the Corinthians:  “the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”  This is what the Jews of Jesus’ day fail to understand, both on this Passover two years before Jesus’ crucifixion, and also on that day so tragic that we call it “Good Friday”.  Yet even today, God means for the sign of the Cross to serve as a sign for you, as a sinner, to experience forgiveness and healing.
ó   ó   ó
               “Jesus would not trust Himself to them because He knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.  He Himself understood it well.”  These poignant words paint lines of bitterness and sorrow in the portrait of Jesus that St. John paints.  We don’t usually think of the word “bitterness” when we picture Jesus, any more than we think of the word “anger”.  We see anger in Jesus as He cleanses the Jewish Temple.  But the vocation for which God the Father sent His Son into our world was not to purify a temple made by men out of stones, but to purify the temple of human nature, a living temple created by God in the beginning, but defiled by men whose sins turned their own hearts to stone.
               The bitterness of Lent is the bitterness of sin itself.  This bitterness does not make Jesus’ heart bitter.  It makes His vocation bitter:  a sign of contradiction.  Only metaphorically can we say that there was any bitterness in Jesus:  that is, in the sense that a doctor camping in the wilderness might tend to someone bitten by a snake by drawing out the poison with his own mouth.  How bitter the poison of sin is!  Yet Jesus did not only taste sin when He took on our human nature.  God the Father made him to be sin, in the words of Saint Paul.[3]
               “Jesus would not trust Himself to them because He knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.  He Himself understood it well.”  Human nature—the fallen human nature because of which we judge life by signs of wealth, degrees and status—is the reason God the Father sent His Son to die on Calvary.  For three hours Jesus hung from the Cross, pulled in opposing directions by the weight of human sin, and the force of the nails inside His hands and feet, holding Him fast against the wood of the cross:  a spectacle in the eyes of sinful man, but an icon of divine love.
               Jesus understood fallen human nature long before Holy Week, and far more than two years before, when He cleansed the Jewish Temple.  From all eternity, God could see the fall of Adam and Eve, the infidelity of Israel, the sinfulness of His Church, and your own many failures to love God and neighbor.  Not in spite of, but because He understood human nature, the Son of God descended from heaven to be raised on a cross, the Cross that is yours for the taking.
               During the remaining four weeks of Lent, turn your bible to one of the four evangelists’ accounts of Jesus’ Last Supper, Passion, Death and Resurrection.  On the back page of this weekend’s bulletin is a graphic showing these chapters within each Gospel account.  Likewise, take advantage of the Parish Mission that runs from Sunday through Tuesday this week:  Seven to Eight o’clock each evening.  And follow the counsel of Jesus after the Last Supper to watch with Him for an hour, by praying in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.

[1] John 19:20.

[2] The second is mentioned in John 6:4 and the third in John 13:1.

[3] 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent
Isaiah 1:10,16-20  ―  Matthew 23:1-12
March 6, 2012

“You have but one Father in heaven.” [Matthew 23:9]

Sometimes this verse is quoted against Catholics, who address their priests as “Father”.  However, you don’t at the same time hear the New Testament Letter to Philemon quoted, where Saint Paul says, “I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment” (verse 10).  Are the words of Saint Paul un-biblical, and un-Christian?

Or ought we, rather, look at today’s Gospel passage in context:  both its own scriptural context, and within the liturgical context of this Season of Lent?

Scripturally, the first and last verses of today’s Gospel passage help us see the meaning of our Verse for Recollection.  Jesus begins by pointing out the contradiction of the scribes and Pharisees.  They legitimately hold the “chair of Moses”, but the choices of their lives are illegitimate.  They do not practice what they preach.  These first words of the passage present the problem.

The passage’s last words present the answer“Whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  Everything in between is a means to this end.

Liturgically, Jesus calls us during Lent to root all of our human choices in walking the Via Dolorosa.  Is this just a pious idea?  Reflect today on these three truths about your life as a Christian:
·        You are walking with Jesus.
·        You are walking with Him as you bear His Cross.
·        You are walking with Him into the arms of His Father.

Today, then, reflect on this question:  “How often do I pray specifically to God the Father, and nurture my relationship with Him as if I were indeed a humble child?”

The Second Sunday of Lent [B]

The Second Sunday of Lent [B]
Genesis 22:1-2,9,10-13,15-18  -  Romans 8:31-34  -  Mark 9:2-10
March 4, 2012

               I spent most of this past week making the long acquaintance of a very energetic virus.  Many of your own families have been fighting it recently, also.  Tuesday I even got to spend part of the day as a patient at St. Teresa’s Hospital, with a hospital gown, wrist bracelet, and the whole nine yards.  Though as a parish priest I often visit the hospital for sick calls, I hadn’t been a patient in a hospital since I was three years old.
               The word “patient” is, of course, both a noun and an adjective.  As an adjective it describes a person who practices the virtue of patience.  The virtue of patience is needed when you’re a hospital patient, because by definition a patient is not in control.  The English word “patient” comes from the Latin verb patior, meaning “to suffer” or “to endure”.  As a patient in the hospital, you have to suffer the effects of your illness or disease, while you wait patiently for medicine and your body’s healing power to do their work.  Not every sickness can be cured overnight by popping a pill.
               All this relates to what we, as Christians, pray about and reflect on during the holy Season of Lent:  that is, our fallen human nature, the spiritual sickness of sin, and our need both to be a patient, and to be patient, while the salve of the Cross heals us and makes us strong enough to follow Jesus, rather than rest in a life of comfort.
               I hope you’ll pardon me if my homily this Sunday is shorter than usual.  Fortunately, in my seventeen years of preaching, I’ve never once heard a complaint about a homily being too short…
+   +   +
               One of my parents’ hobbies has always been antiquessearching for them, buying them, cleaning them, and displaying them.  When my brother and sisters and I were little we would often accompany our parents to antique shows, where we spent hours going along with our parents through the rows of antiques while they made their choices, and then waited during the sale for the right item to come up for bidding.
My dad used to tell us that the key to successful collecting is having a discerning eye, or in other words, being able to “prospect”.  Anyone can wait patiently during a show for a particular item to come up for sale.  In fact, my dad would sometimes have me—a little boy—watch the progress of the sale while he went elsewhere on the grounds, instructing me to come get him when the seller got close to the item he wanted to bid on.  It’s really not the waiting that’s so difficult.
               What takes an expert eye—what our parents had that we children did not—is discernment, that ability to “prospect”.  Only a discerning eye can see beauty and value in something that is covered with dirt and dust; only a discerning eye can see a treasure underneath stain and tarnish.  Only a discerning eye can see something worth waiting for and spending one’s money on.
               During Lent, it’s not so difficult to live patiently and sacrifice certain things, to carry out acts of charity, or to offer extra prayers.  The greater challenge of Lent is seeing WHY we’re doing all of these things in the first place.  Each of us is called to be a Christian with a discerning eye, who can see clearly the meaning of Lent.  The Scriptures today help focus our sights on the meaning of Lent.
+   +   +
               In today’s Gospel passage we hear about the Transfiguration of Jesus, the great vision of Christ glorified:  a foreshadowing, really, of the Resurrection.  Peter, James, and John were invited by Jesus to see clearly the reason for following this Jesus from Nazareth.  At this point in their lives, the disciples had been following Jesus for quite some time.  Yet on this day when Jesus was transfigured, His suffering, death, and resurrection were still quite some ways in the future.
               In following Jesus around, these disciples had already endured many trials, and yet at this point they still weren’t sure where they were going with Jesus:  they surely weren’t expecting Jesus to die the death of a criminal on the Cross, much less rise from the dead.  These disciples had simply been called by a fellow Jew who happened to be a carpenter, and who seemed to possess miraculous powers.  It was an amazing life, to follow such a man, but where was it leading them?  Jesus’ transfiguration offered a hint of where they were headed.
               In your own life, if you were given the chance to see—say—five years into the future, would you take it?  Would you change the way you pray—would you change what you pray for—if you knew what your future holds?  Perhaps a glimpse of the future that God has in store for us would make us better persons.  Perhaps a glimpse of our future would make us pray more seriously.  For these three followers of Jesus—Peter, James, and John—seeing Jesus transfigured, and seeing him speaking with Moses and Elijah, actually left them with more questions than answers.
               St. Peter, for example, having been chosen by Jesus to lead His Church, completely misunderstands the purpose of Jesus revealing His glory to them.  “Rabbi,” Peter exclaims, “it is good that we are here!  Let us make three tents.”  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 should the disciples leave the mountain?  This was the greatest vision of Jesus they’d 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, basically saying to him:  “You cannot stop and stay here on this mountain, because I am not going to stop.”  And Jesus did keep right on moving, towards Jerusalem, because there lay the goal of His life on earth.  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 fully understood what was coming during Holy Week, would they have continued to follow Him?
               As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus charged Peter, James, and John not to relate what they had seen to anyone, until after Jesus had risen from the dead.  In other words, Jesus told them, “Don’t preach the glory of the Resurrection before it happens.”  During Lent we offer sacrifice, prayer, and charity to God and others.  Doing so can be difficult, although probably not as difficult as some of the sacrifices God has in store for us, that He’ll be making of us down the road.
               Jesus is not to be worshiped as someone completely unlike us.  It is in his humanity, his “lowly flesh,” that He is glorified.  And it is in our humanity—through our weakness—that we seek to grow in holiness.  We do not have to experience miraculous visions to be following Jesus faithfully.
               Christ became human to free us from our sins.  Underneath the stains and tarnish of the life of each of us, there lies the beauty of a soul created in the image and likeness of God, a soul worth saving from sin, a soul which Christ was willing to purchase at the price of His own life.

The parish I serve

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