I can hardly believe that it's the 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time it means we are half way through the Church year. That means something more than Christmas in July (which I never quite understood considering it's more than a half way mark to Christmas). For families or educators that means the chance for a summer vacation is almost done. For others the hottest days of summer are upon us. For our parish it means last week we finished an outstanding Mission Camp with 200 of our very young children and young at heart who gathered to remember God's Mercy and Love. For our Church it means we ready ourselves for Pope Francis' World Youth Day (July 25-31) in Krakow, Poland.
The Holy Father's call for a Year of Mercy, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7), is the theme for the Krakow 2016 WYD. It is specifically chosen to be in Pope Saint John Paul II's and St. Faustina's (who brought us the devotion of Jesus' Divine Mercy) homeland to drive home this special relationship of Love and Mercy. He writes: "Dear young people...Jesus is waiting for you. He has confidence in you and is counting on you! He has so many things to say to each of you...Do not be afraid to look into his eyes, full of infinite love for you. Open yourselves to his merciful gaze, so ready to forgive all your sins. A look from him can change your lives and heal the wounds of your souls. His eyes can quench the thirst that dwells deep in your young hearts, a thirst for love, for peace, for joy and for true happiness. Come to Him and do not be afraid! Come to him and say from the depths of your hearts: “Jesus, I trust in You!”. Let yourselves be touched by his boundless mercy, so that in turn you may become apostles of mercy by your actions, words and prayers in our world, wounded by selfishness, hatred and so much despair." So in a world that seems to be so filled with violence and hostility, this week we lift up what is truly possible when we let Him love us so we might love all others.
Remember to keep our seminarians in prayer this week, especially Matthew Jordan who is finishing his 30 day silent Ignatian retreat at the Institute of Priestly Formation. Also, my first young person who came to me while I was a newly ordained at Saint Clare Church for spiritual support (Bridget Heisler) will be making her final vows/profession with the Sisters of Life on August 6th. Please pray for Sr. Brigid as she continues to prepare to share in this glorious life of love and service.
Pax, Fr. Bline