Father Don's Weekly Message
June 23, 2013
Twelthth Sunday in Ordinary Time
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. — Galatians 3:28
From the Pastor's Desk...
As you may know, we are in the midst of “Fortnight for Freedom”, two weeks of prayer, education and action regarding the current administration’s mandating that religious institutions violate their beliefs by providing contraception, sterilization and abortion-causing drugs as part of their insurance plan. Several dioceses and other Catholic institutions have lodged lawsuits against this violation of the First Amendment.
The Fortnight (a rather old-fashioned term for two weeks) began this past week on June 21, the vigil of the feast of two martyrs of conscience who spoke truth to the power of Henry VIII and paid with their heads, St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, the only Catholic bishops to remain faithful to Rome when the King demanded recognition of himself as Head of the Church. And on Monday we celebrate the birth of St. John the Baptist who lost his head after boldly confronting Herod regarding his irregular marriage; though Herod was drawn to John, his wife Salome hated him and eventually got him murdered. In today’s Gospel Jesus said to all “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:24) Standing up for religious freedom will not be without its crosses.
As Cardinal Dolan has said, the Church did not pick this fight. Even the Catholic Health Association which had been involved in the creation of the Affordable Care Act and at first supported the mandate, when they realized the extent of violation of conscience withdrew their support and join with the Bishops. Information about “Fortnight for Freedom” is available at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website: www.usccb.org or the Joliet Diocesan website: www.dioceseofjoliet.org. I encourage you to visit the sites and gain a deeper understanding of the issue. Please offer this prayer during the “Fortnight for Freedom”.
O God our Creator, from your provident hand we have received our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You have called us as your people and given us the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God, and your Son, Jesus Christ. Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit, you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty. Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters gathered in your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome-for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us-this great land will always be "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
First Reading - Zechariah foretells the Messiah (Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:1).
Psalm - My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God (Psalm 63).
Second Reading — There are no distinctions or divisions; we all belong to Christ (Galatians 3:26-29).
Gospel — Peter proclaims Jesus as the Christ; Jesus speaks of his great suffering to come (Luke 9:18-24).
Mon: Vigil: Jer 1:4-10; Ps 71:1-6, 15, 17; 1 Pt 1:8-12; Lk 1:5-17
Day: Is 49:1-6; Ps 139:1-3, 13-15; Acts 13:22-26; Lk 1:57-66, 80
Tues: Gn 13:2, 5-18; Ps 15:2-4ab, 5; Mt 7:6, 12-14
Wed: Gn 15:1-12, 17-18; Ps 105:1-4, 6-9; Mt 7:15-20
Thurs: Gn 16:1-12, 15-16 [6b-12, 15-16]; Ps 106:1b-5; Mt 7:21-29
Fri: Gn 17:1, 9-10, 15-22; Ps 128:1-5; Mt 8:1-4
Sat: Vigil: Acts 3:1-10; Ps 19:2-5; Gal 1:11-20; Jn 21:15-19
Day: Acts 12:1-11; Ps 34:2-9;
2 Tm 4:6-8, 17-18; Mt 16:13-19
Sun: 1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21; Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-11;
Gal 5:1, 13-18; Lk 9:51-62
Click here to find the daily readings on the USCCB website