10 Mar 2018

This Week Letter – March 11, 2018

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Dear Parishioners and Friends,


“By grace you have been saved through faith.” Is our consciousness able to fathom the sublime meaning of this sentence from the second reading of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians? What must we do to understand it properly? It is enough to consider the words of Jesus, to explore the content of His teaching; His journey through 33 years of life, the path of learning, faith, love and hope that turned into a path of harassment, anger, contempt and cursing by those for whom this study was not the answer.  What would have happened if what had been foretold for ages had not been fulfilled?

And yet it actually has happened. The news of salvation, announced for centuries, has come down to us and has remained with us, because God loved us so much. In today’s readings there appears a very important but troublesome word for us: Mercy. It is hidden throughout the text of today’s Liturgy of the Word, directed toward those who lived well before Christ, toward those living at the time of Christ and, finally, toward us who now are listening to the Word.

Mercy – Caritas, an act often causing us embarrassment or indifference, whether in giving or in receiving it. Why? Because in giving, we must look at those we do not want to see and notice, and because in receiving, we have no idea how to reciprocate and we feel mortified. But in this case, we should not entertain such feelings, for how can we be ashamed of the One who is Mercy itself? God often refers to Himself as Mercy. For example, seeing what the people of Judah were doing, “Early and often the LORD, the God of their ancestors, sent his messengers to them, for he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place.” (2 Chronicles 36:15), and hence gave them hope and showed mercy.

In order to understand and accept the gifts given to us by God, we should remember to whom we owe this grace. The One, who by His own personal sacrifice, gives us of Himself that we might be able to enjoy our lives, not only today in our earthly waiting room, but also in our eternal future: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God…” (Eph 2: 8). This gift of God is still available to us, constantly being offered to us. We need only to accept it and follow in the path indicated by the Lord.

Personally, I strive to remember every day that God is showing us the way and the truth, the only Truth, in Whom each of us always ought to walk until the end of our days. I would like to share with you that after 30 years working in various parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago, 20 years of which I spent at St. Constance Parish, I feel a bit exhausted. Because of my recent heart problems, I have asked His Eminence Cardinal Blase Cupich for time to regain my strength before being assigned to a new parish. I will remain with you until the end of June, thanking God for giving me this grace of being with you. I love you and ask all of you to pray for me. I assure you that I pray for you every day. I believe that we still will have many opportunities to meet and reminisce now and in the future when I’ll be at a new parish. I submit everything with faith to Divine Providence.

God bless!