Fr. Daniel Gifford
MOTHER OF OUR SAVIOR
It’s beginning to look a lot like Ordinary Time. There is a great irony to this Season of the Year, because we often think of “ordinary” as meaning rather mundane - although there is a much better way to understand its meaning, as you may hear me preach about. But, we only return to Ordinary Time (both times) after long seasons of joyously celebrating the central mysteries of our faith, namely the Incarnation in Christmas and the Paschal Mystery in Easter. And both of these seasons are preceded by preparatory seasons (Advent and Lent) designed to help us make sure we’re entering in as deeply and fruitfully as possible. All of this is what launches us back into Ordinary Time, emboldened by a renewed awareness of the extraordinary nature of the life of every disciple of Jesus Christ in the Heart of the Church! So, this weekend, before returning to the Gospel of Luke, which will be our primary guide through Ordinary Time this year, we take a Sunday to reflect on what is sometimes referred to as the “Third Epiphany.” The last two Sundays, we celebrated the first two: the Adoration of the Magi and the Baptism of the Lord. Now, we come to the Wedding Feast of Cana, in which Christ is revealed as, not only the Light to the Nations and the Beloved Son of the Father, but also the Bridegroom of the Church. That day, He changed water into wine. This is a beautiful prelude to the Eucharist, the Foretaste of the Eternal Wedding Feast of the Lamb, in which He changes wine into His Most Precious Blood. And let us not forget also that this prelude to the Foretaste was done at the initiative of His Mother and ours. The role of Mary in the Wedding Feast at Cana gives us a hint of her role in the Eucharistic Feast. She was the first to receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus into herself. Her fiat, her yes to the Lord, teach us how to embrace and live the Amen we take upon our lips when we receive His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity into ourselves. She remained faithfully at the foot of the cross, as His Body was broken and His Blood was shed for our salvation. Finally, her intercessory role at Cana gives us a subtle hint (which has been noted by Dr. Scott Hahn and other wise Scripture scholars) of her honored seat at the table in the Eternal Wedding Feast of the Lamb, namely as Queen Mother. This gives me an opportunity to share with you another image hanging in our Atrium hallway, contributing to the learning of our children: Madonna of the Eucharist (front cover). It brings me joy to consider our children gazing at it and considering Our Lady’s prayers for them, as they prepare for their First Communion and First Reconciliation (symbolized in the picture to the right). The image shows Mary holding Our Lord in one hand and reaching out towards a bundle of grapes and grains of wheat, the raw materials used to bring us the bread and wine, which will be transubstantiated into Our Lord Himself. As we approach Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, may we go spiritually to be with Mary at the foot of the cross, as He offers His Body and Blood for us. There at the cross, we come to know her according to yet another title from the Litany of Loreto: Mother of Our Savior.
PARENT MEETING: As I mentioned last weekend, there is a parent meeting coming up this Thursday, January 24th, which we hope to be more than a meeting. As the need to have a mid-year meeting, to provide our parents with some important and helpful resources, began to become apparent, I began to discern this together with our DRE, Julia Mead. In that process, the desire grew to truly bless our parents with an evening of recollection. Of course, that does mean that we need to offer childcare, so that we can make it as available as possible for our busy parents, who I know often would love to have the opportunity for such renewing experiences. So, while the children are in the Aloysius Room or the gym playing with their friends at their parish home, we will be in the Church and the hall reflecting on our theme: In You, Lord, I Take Refuge (Psalm 31).
CHICAGO MARCH FOR LIFE: I want to thank all who went out and represented our parish at the Chicago March for Life last weekend. This time of the year, when various marches are taking place in different parts of the country, including our nation’s capital, it is encouraging to know that our own parishioners are among those who step out and offer the world a joyful and loving witness to the dignity of all human life. May we all continue to pray for a greater respect for life and to keep our eyes open for what action we might be called to take to promote the dignity of all human life in our own homes and local community.
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!