Fr. Daniel Gifford
Dear St. Louis Parishioners,
“Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God.” If you think back to the Second Sunday of Advent, we read the very beginning of the Gospel of Mark. At that time, I shared with you that we would jump around to a few different Gospel readings, as we finished out the holy season, before picking up where we left off and beginning a long journey through Mark for this Liturgical year. Well, today we resume that journey, so it is a good time to pause and consider what we will we encounter in Mark throughout the year. You may have noticed our large “rose window” over the choir loft (see pictured). The four images it contains are the symbols traditionally associated with the four gospels. They are, starting from the top and going clockwise, the ox for Luke, the lion for Mark (front cover), the angel/man for Matthew, and the eagle for John. Recall that I shared with you my nickname for Saint Mark: the patron saint of brevity. This is because he is short, sweet and to the point, resulting in the shortest of all four Gospels. By nature, I am a little more like St. John, whose Gospel tends more toward lengthy, poetic teachings, reflections, and stories. It’s not uncommon for me to tell people, “If you want the homily to be shorter, pray to St. Mark and hope for the best!” But, there is much more we can learn from St. Mark. About a year ago, I began to revisit one of my favorite volumes of the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture: The Gospel of Mark, by Mary Healy, whose insights are not only knowledgeable, but spiritually inspiring and imminently practical. This commentary is a treasure trove of valuable insights. So, I recommend considering using it as a companion to your prayer and study in this liturgical year. For today, I will pass on one simple insight about Mark’s Gospel in general: “Mark writes in such a way as to invite his readers to embark on the same adventure that he himself, and Jesus’ first disciples, have engaged in: the adventure of encountering Jesus, growing in the knowledge of who He truly is, and committing one’s whole life to Him.” Mark’s brevity should not be misunderstood as him simply giving “just the facts” of what happened. Quite the contrary, he wants to invite us into discipleship with Jesus Christ, who has not only changed his own life, but the course of history. Therefore, the “what happened” of his Gospel is just the beginning. The Story of Salvation is still being written in all of our lives. How can we answer the Lord’s call today to follow Him more closely? MORE GRATITUDE: I wanted to say a word of thanks to all of the families who contributed to last Saturday's St. Louis School Family Reunion Dinner. This was a wonderful celebration. It made me happy to see so many families of our parish and friends of the parish, who are members of our extended family, thanks to their connection to the parish school we were blessed to have for so many years, come and share a joy-filled evening of food and fellowship together in a place I hope you will always consider your home.
May the Holy Spirit continue to build and strengthen our whole parish family!
In Christ through Mary, Fr. Gifford
St. Louis, pray for us! Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!