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Archives: January 2019
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/012019.cfm
This Sunday and for the following three Sundays we return to what is known as Ordinary Time in our Church Year. Ordinary Time is that time between the seasons of Christmas and Lent, and between Easter and Advent.
Our Gospel this Sunday is the familiar story of the wedding at Cana. There are two specific things in this Gospel which deserve comment. First, notice that when the wine ran out, Mary did not tell Jesus what he should do. She merely brought the matter to his attention: “They have no more wine.” She left it up to Jesus as to how to respond to this situation. If you are like me, this is not how I usually bring a problem to God. Too often when I bring things to God in prayer, I have a desired outcome in mind. Mary, though, just presented her concern to Jesus and left it in his hands. I think this is a good model for our prayer. The second thing I would note is the abundance of water turned into wine: “six stone water jars………………each holding twenty to thirty gallons.” This reminds us that where God is involved there is always an abundance.
Our first reading this Sunday is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. The people of Israel have returned from Exile, and the prophet Isaiah reminded them that they still have found favor with God: “As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you, and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.” It is the marriage imagery that ties this reading to this Sunday’s Gospel.
Our second reading this Sunday is from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians. In it Paul reminds us that “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there re different workings, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- In your prayer have you ever followed Mary’s example and simple brought something to God without having a hoped for outcome in your mind?
- Where have you experienced God’s abundance in your life?
- What gifts have you been given?
As we enter a new calendar year, we often assess how we’ve been spending our time and resolve to do something different. We may want to get more exercise, watch less TV, or make time for friends and family.
Perhaps you’ve thought about getting involved in your parish or community, but just never got around to it. Perhaps 2019 is the year to act on your intentions.
Volunteer opportunities abound at The Basilica. Are you passionate about social justice, caring for those less fortunate, or listening to another person’s story? Do you prefer to help behind the scenes or take charge of a project? Do you have skills as a writer, photographer, or graphic designer? Do you enjoy seeing the immediate results of your labors, as in polishing a chalice or shoveling a sidewalk?
Or do you not know where you fit, what gifts and skills you are being called to share? We invite you to explore where you are feeling called to serve.
Come explore what your gifts and skills are at the Spiritual Gifts Workshop on Saturday, January 19 with Deacon Winninger.
Or meet with a member of the Gifts Leadership Team who will help you explore a ministry at The Basilica that needs your specific gifts and talents to thrive. Contact the Gifts Leadership Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or request a meeting.
In November 2018, the U.S. Catholic Bishops published a pastoral letter entitled Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love—a Pastoral Letter Against Racism. Amid competing crises and issues demanding attention, the bishops of the Catholic Church rose to the occasion to address racism, “one particularly destructive and persistent form of evil.” Acknowledging that strides have been made in our country, they state, “racism still infects our nation.”
The issue of racism is understood in different ways. Here, in this call to healing, the U.S. Bishops explain, “Racism arises when—either consciously or unconsciously—a person holds that his or her own race or ethnicity is superior, and therefore judges persons of other races or ethnicities as inferior and unworthy of equal regard. When this conviction or attitude leads individuals or groups to exclude, ridicule, mistreat, or unjustly discriminate against persons on the basis of their race or ethnicity, it is sinful… Every racist act…is a failure to acknowledge another person as a brother or sister, created in the image of God.”
Racism takes many different forms. “It can be seen in deliberate, sinful acts. In recent times, we have seen bold expressions of racism by groups as well as individuals.” It can be experienced “in the form of the sin of omission when individuals, communities and even churches remain silent and fail to act against racial injustice when it is encountered.” Racism can “be found in our hearts—in many cases placed there unwillingly or unknowingly by our upbringing and culture.” “Racism can also be institutional, when practices or traditions are upheld that treat certain groups of people unjustly. The cumulative effects of personal sins of racism have led to social structures of injustice and violence that make us all accomplices in racism.”
Despite previous work on racism, the Bishops state, “racism still profoundly affects our culture…. This evil causes great harm to its victims, and it corrupts the souls of those who harbor racist or prejudicial thoughts… People are still being harmed, so action is needed.”
Conversion: The Bishops proclaim, “What is needed, and what we are calling for, is a genuine conversion of heart, a conversion that will compel change, and reform our institutions and society. …All of us are in need of personal, ongoing conversion. Our churches and our civic and social institutions are in need of ongoing reform.”
The challenges inherent in this conversion seem daunting. Yet our faith reminds us that God’s love is a reconciling love. God’s love is a forgiving love. God’s love is a saving love. Indeed, God’s love can help us press forward despite fear and division.
We Commit Ourselves to the Following Steps:
To move forward, the Bishops commit to specific actions. We are invited to join them—inviting the Holy Spirit to transform our lives and communities.
These actions include:
- Acknowledging Sins: as individuals and as communities, we are all asked to humbly and honestly see and acknowledge our sinful deeds and thoughts and ask for forgiveness.
- Being Open to Encounter and New Relationships: we are invited to “engage the world and encounter others—to see, maybe for the first time, those who are on the peripheries of our own limited view.”
- Resolving to Work for Justice: both nationally and locally, love should move us to “examine where society continues to fail our brothers and sisters, or where it perpetuates inequity” and to take concrete actions to address those problems.
- Educating Ourselves: We are all challenged to learn more and to hear life-stories that “will help open our minds and hearts more fully and continue the healing needed in our communities and nation.”
- Working in Our Churches: We commit to working within the Church to root out vestiges of racist experience and celebrate the great cultural diversity of the Church. The Bishops recognize the unique role each person must play—including the important voice of Bishops and priests.
- Changing Structures: “The roots of racism have extended deeply into the soil of our society. Racism can only end if we contend with the policies and institutional barriers that perpetuate and preserve the inequality—economic and social—that we still see all around us. With renewed vigor, we call on the members of the Body of Christ to join others in advocating and promoting policies at all levels that will combat racism and its effects in our civic and social institutions.”
- Conversion of All: “Prayer and working toward conversion must be our first response in the face of evil actions.”
- Our Commitment to Life: “The injustice and harm racism causes are an attack on human life.” Indeed, the Bishops “unequivocally state that racism is a life issue.”
As Catholic Christians, we begin and end with wrestling with the incredible love of God. Our Bishops urge us: “Love compels each of us to resist racism courageously. It requires us to reach out generously to the victims of this evil, to assist the conversion needed in those who still harbor racism, and to begin to change policies and structures that allow racism to persist.” Indeed, love “is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace.”
The Basilica is committed to this work. Look for ways to engage in a partnership with Penumbra Theater in early Spring. For more information, call Janice at 612.317.3477.
For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and past it into your browser: https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/011319.cfm
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Now, to some it might seem strange that we celebrate this Feast so soon after we have celebrated Christ’s birth, especially since the scriptures tell us that Christ was baptized as an adult at the beginning of his public ministry. The reality is, though, that other than the infancy narratives and the story of the finding of Jesus in the Temple, we really have no information about Christ’s early life. When you stop and think about it, this is as it should be. What is important about Christ is not any stories about his early life, but rather the stories about his preaching, teaching, miracles and ministry.
This weekend we read the story of Jesus’ baptism from the Gospel of Luke. The first section of this Gospel is a summary of the mission of John the Baptist: “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The second section of this Gospel records Jesus’ baptism. We are told simply that after he had been baptized, “the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.’” Interestingly, in Mark and Luke the voice from heaven is addressed to Jesus personally, whereas in Matthew the voice is addressed to the surrounding crowds. (John records Jesus baptism indirectly, though the words of John the Baptist.)
There are two choices for our first reading this weekend. At the Basilica we will be using Isaiah 42: 1-4; 6-7. The section we read this Sunday is part of what is know as the Songs of the Suffering Servant. It is God’s promise to send a “servant” who will be filled with God’s Spirit. We would see this as prefiguring Christ.
We also have a choice for our second reading today. At the Basilica we will read from the Acts of the Apostles. In this reading Peter boldly proclaims: “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Have you attended a baptism recently? What do you remember about it?
- How would you explain baptism to a non-Christian?
- If God, shows “no partiality” why is baptism important?
The new edition of the BASILICA Magazine is a commemorative issue celebrating the 150th anniversary of the parish. Thank you to the dedicated volunteer team who created the special issue.
Inside this issue:
Voices From a Landmark
Reflections to Commemorate the Parish’s 150th Anniversary
Life in 1868
Looking Back 150 Years Ago
A Parish of Immigrants
A 150 year journey continues
The Basilica’s Founding Families
Building the Parish 150 years ago
Meeting the Needs of the Community for 150 Years
Volunteers then and now
Carrying on a Basilica Tradition
Multi-generational families committed to service
Voices from Our Community
Local civic and faith leaders share their thoughts on this historic anniversary
Celebrating 150 Faces of the Parish
Telling the stories of our founders
The award-winning BASILICA magazine is sponsored by The Basilica Landmark, a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to preserve, restore, and advance the historic Basilica of Saint Mary for all generations.
BASILICA is published twice a year (spring and fall) with a circulation of 20,000.
For advertising information please contact Liz Legatt.