Fr. Kevin’s Column 1/17/2021

Dear friends of God,

We have fully entered into Winter Ordinary Time beginning this weekend. We have moved from the Christmas season and then entered into the intimate moment of Jesus’ baptism and beloved affirmation from the Father. In that moment of Jesus’ baptism, his call from the Father became clearer to him as he inaugurated the Kingdom of God.

 

We each have a call in that Kingdom of love. To paraphrase and adapt for our present context from the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: We need people “not in love with money but with justice. Not in love with publicity (we might say social media) but in love with humanity.” Each of us in our own way needs a conversion to love, love of God, love of neighbor, love of enemy and even love of ourselves. God has called each of us, given us an invitation to love.

 

Our first reading is from the First Book of Samuel. We hear God’s call to Samuel. We might not hear God calling us in such a strong auditory way, but God continually calls us to new life, new relationship, and to his Kingdom of love compassion, justice and peace. We simply need to take the time to listen. As we continue with these January days, I encourage all of us to take time for silence every day and sit with the Lord with no agenda and no expectations. It will be like sitting comfortably with an old friend.

As we gathered for Eucharist last weekend, I took some moments to share a reflection about the crisis that occurred on January 6 in Washington, D.C. I hope that everyone heard my call to reject any violence. Jesus lived and taught nonviolence. As his followers, we need to increase our toolbox of life skills. Resorting to hate and violence is a major lack of human imagination in responding to conflict in our lives. The psychologist Abraham Maslow put it this way: “When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.” We need to open our imagination in how we relate to each other in our diverse world. We have to stop acting as if all we have at our disposal is a hammer when the most important tool that we carry in our toolbox is love. As St. Francis of Assisi prayed so long ago “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” As people of faith, let us encourage one another to see the world as God has created it to be: permeated with love, compassion and care for the least of our brothers and sisters.

 

There are so many responding to our present crisis with great wisdom. I would like to share these pastoral words from our Universal Shepherd, Pope Francis, that he spoke after the Angelus on January 10, 2021:

 

Dear brothers and sisters, I offer an affectionate greeting to the people of the United States of America, shaken by the recent siege at the Congress. I pray for those who lost their life – five – they lost it in those dramatic moments. I reiterate that violence is always self-destructive. Nothing is earned with violence and so much is lost. I exhort the government authorities and the entire population to maintain a deep sense of responsibility, in order to calm souls, to promote national reconciliation and to protect the democratic values rooted in American society. May the Immaculate Virgin, Patroness of the United States of America, help keep alive the culture of encounter, the culture of care, as the royal road to build together the common good; and I do so with all those who live in that land.

 

I have scheduled a time of adoration on Tuesday, January 19 at 5 p.m. We will spend 30 minutes in quiet prayer with one another. Please come if you are able. If you cannot be with us, I invite you to take a half an hour of silent prayer on that day for a peaceful transition in our American presidency.

Violence is a lack of creativity in a complicated world but prayer is the creativity that we need for our toolbox to respond to the trials of the present moment.

 

Much love,
Father Kevin