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Reflections on forthcoming Mass readings by Tom and April Hoopes.
BY TOM & APRIL HOOPES
Sunday, Jan. 20, 2008, Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year
A, Cycle II). This Jan. 25 is the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. As he
prepares the Church to observe the Year of St. Paul starting this June, Pope
Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass at Rome’s Basilica of Saint Paul
Outside-the-Walls at 5:30 p.m.
Epriest.com offers “Best Practices” for parishes. Jan. 22 is
the anniversary of the devastating Roe v. Wade abortion decision. The pastor of
Holy Family Catholic Church in St. Louis Park, Minn., in the Archdiocese of St.
Paul and Minneapolis, holds a pro-life prayer vigil and Mass in December. One
group goes to the abortion business while a second group (including children)
gathers in the church. The priest leads a procession praying the Rosary/Divine
Mercy Chaplet at the abortion business while children lead these same prayers
in church. The two groups reunite for Mass. More details at the website.
FamiliaUSA.net offers “Next Sunday Ideas.” For this Sunday’s
Gospel about John the Baptist recognizing Jesus, the site suggests a way to
demonstrate to kids the difference between appearances and reality.
“Parents, find some clown glasses. Tell the children that
there is something wrong with the lenses. When you wear them, you can only see
clothes, no faces at all …” The activity cleverly leads into a discussion of
today’s Gospel. More details at the website.
Pauline.org/store is the website for the bookstore of the
Daughters of St. Paul. Click on “Children” then “Intermediate: Mary, Saints and
Biographies” to find Saints for Young Readers for Every Day. We keep ours in
the kitchen and refer to it almost every day to find the day’s saint. The two
volumes keep each saint’s story brief but not superficial. They find a
faith-filled middle ground between the skepticism of some modern books on the
saints and the credulity of some older ones.
Isaiah 49:3, 5-6; Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-10; 1Corinthians 1:1-3; John 1:29-34
Epriest.com offers free homily packs for priests.
In today’s first reading, the prophet calls Israel to
“It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will
make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the
We might translate that: “It’s not enough to just be
dutiful, even to the point of doing everything you can imagine doing for me. Be
receptive to God, and then you will do things you can’t even imagine.”
Receptivity is our openness to hearing and accepting God’s
direction — our acceptance of his plan, his truth and the people and
circumstances he puts in our lives.
An activist who lacks this virtue will be too busy doing on
his own terms to stop and hear God. The key is to be contemplative and active.
In the Gospel, John the Baptist points how to do this —
literally. He points his disciples to Christ. The disciples’ reaction is to
follow Jesus. They go to Christ, but they don’t say, “Master, what must we do?”
Instead, they ask, “Where do you live?”
In these weeks of ordinary time, we should be asking the
same question. This isn’t a time to remember the extraordinary events of
Christ’s story. It’s time to discover “where he lives” and live there with him
in our own lives.
The Hoopeses are editorial directors of Faith & Family magazine