Ministry opportunity of the week: Catholic Schools Week kicks off this coming Sunday, January 28, with an open house after the 10:15 Mass until 1:00. Please attend, learn about our school, and ask about opportunities to serve on committees, volunteer in the school, etc.
Pope Francis recently reminded priests not to rush through periods of silence in the Mass, and I am going to reform!!! I have already asked lectors to wait for a nod from me before beginning announcements, allowing for a short time of silence after all is settled down after communion and before we move into our announcements and closing prayers. Another time, and one that I will try to use more, is after the priest says “Let us pray” for the opening and closing prayers. After those words, there is supposed to be a short period of silence for people to reflect on what they want to pray for. Perhaps at the opening prayer we can reflect on our needs and the needs of the world; at the closing prayer, we can thank God for the Body of Christ (both the Eucharist and the Community) and the other gifts He has given us. It will make us a little more reflective.
In our readings the last weeks we have been looking at “call stories,” that is, stories of people called by God for a specific mission. Our first reading this weekend features the story of Jonah, perhaps the most reluctant person in the Bible who received a call from God. He was to preach repentance to a non-Jewish city, Nineveh, and he didn’t want to do it: he wanted them damned, not saved, so he ran away. He gets swallowed by the whale, spit out on the shore, and is called again. This time he reluctantly answers the call and is furious when Nineveh heeds his preaching and repents. He storms off in anger for another confrontation with God.
One point we can take from this is that God will be persistent, even when we ignore or are even hostile to His call. God is compassionate with the Ninevites. God is patient and compassionate with Jonah, even though Jonah himself is not compassionate and resists God’s call.
Let us ask God to help us hear what it is He wants us to do. And we can be sure it will always be the compassionate course of action. Lord, may we be compassionate, as you are compassionate.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS