This Sunday we enter the 20th Week in Ordinary Time. In our Gospel the Lord begins with a striking greeting, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” The fire that Jesus wishes to cast is not a destructive fire, but the fire of his love. It would be false to think that just because it is not a purely destructive fire it is not violent. The love of God is indeed fierce. Jesus knows many people will reject it because it does not measure up to the standards we have set before us in society. To love as the Father loves means that we first must open our hearts to receive from his bounty. Without living in the love of the Father, we have nothing to give.READ MORE
When a man receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders as a Deacon, he is ordained to a life of service for the Church and the People of God, specifically for the Liturgy, the Word, and for Charity. In his service to the Liturgy, he assists the bishops and priests at the Mass and liturgical celebrations. In his service to the Word, the Deacon has the privilege to proclaim the Gospel at Mass, as well as to preach, and he is an Ordinary Minister of the Eucharist, along with bishops and priests. In his service of charity, the Deacon is conformed by his Ordination to the Servant Heart of Christ, "Who came to serve and not be served", and he helps carry on the Church's many works of charity in her service to all those in need. These were the reasons that the first seven Deacons of the Church were originally ordained by St. Peter and the Apostles, and the role of the Deacon has remained unchanged. There have been many Deacon saints that have faithfully served Christ and His Church. One of the most popular Deacon saints of all is the Deacon and martyr St. Lawrence, whose feast the Church celebrates on August 10. St. Lawrence personifies all that the Deacon is called by Christ to be.READ MORE
"The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus"
August 4th marks the 160th anniversary of the death of St. Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests. His beautiful example of the priesthood has left a lasting impression on many parish priests. A typical day in the life of the Curé d' Ars was spent giving of himself entirely. With a few days a year for retreat and repose with his family, he never left the village of Ars. To have his incorrupt heart visit us here at St. Joan of Arc made his visit very special to us. Through this saint's intercession and witness, he has impacted my priesthood deeply. He taught me to love a parish, persevere in the confessional and fall more in love with the Eucharist.READ MORE
As a student in a Catholic grammar school in Chicago, one of the first things the nuns taught us was to write the letters AMDG on the top of every paper or test we wrote. The Sisters explained that they represented the Latin words, Ad Majoram Dei Gloriam, which means, "All For the Greater Glory of God". Everything we did should be dedicated to His greater glory. This simple message was taught by one our greatest heroes of the Catholic Church, St. Ignatius of Loyola. We celebrate his feast this Wednesday, July 31. He was born on October 23, 1491, in the Castle of Loyola, located in the Basque country of northeast Spain. The youngest of 13 children, he was raised to embrace a military career and became an outstanding soldier. He was also a handsome courtier who enjoyed the life of the royal court of Spain and was considered quite the ladies' man. His brilliant military career came to a sudden end at the age of 29. During the Battle of Pamplona in 1421, his right leg was shattered by a cannon ball. He was taken back to his family's castle at Loyola where it was discovered that his leg had not been set properly, and he underwent several attempts to re-break and set his leg correctly, without anesthesia, so that it would not leave him deformed.READ MORE
As we begin the 16th Week in Ordinary Time the Church presents with a famous scene from Genesis 18. Abraham encounters three mysterious visitors for whom he quickly prepares a meal. These three men, who promise that in a year Sarah will bear a child, are often understood to represent an image of the Trinity. Their relative silence as they meet Abraham is a cause of wonder, but Abraham seems to understand something special about these men. While his intuition may not be what the Church Fathers have understood, his actions bring to mind that famous line from the rule of St. Benedict, "Receive all visitors as if they were Christ." Or from the Letter to the Hebrews, "Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels." (13:2)
This Sunday, we hear the famous parable of the Good Samaritan, with the tantalizing question from the scholar of the law who asks, "And who is my neighbor?" This question is sometimes posed in our own world as a way to get around moral responsibilities. It's as if we're saying, "Does everyone really deserve to be treated as Christ teaches?" As always, the Lord presents a radical answer, the one who is my neighbor is the one who lives showing mercy. There are no limits nor boundaries, just an invitation to show mercy wherever we find ourselves.READ MORE
I pray everyone had a good and safe 4th of July. The Gospel this weekend invites us to reflect on the missionary activity of the Church. Jesus tells the disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” The harvest which the Lord speaks of is all those souls he desires to be with Him in heaven. It is not merely about forming people as Christians, but helping people along their way to heaven. Maybe you have noticed that often when we pray for vocations at Mass on Sunday we pray specifically for young people from here at St. Joan of Arc. While it is true that most young people will be called to the vocation of marriage, there are certainly some among us whom the Lord may be calling to serve Him in the priesthood or as a religious brother or sister. The prayer we make is one that asks the Lord very specifically to raise up laborers from our own parish.READ MORE