Peace and grace to all!
The reading from the book of Deuteronomy reminds us of God’s promise to provide prophets or people who will act as God’s spokespersons to guide the whole community. They live in right relationship with God and each other. As Catholic Christians, we believe that Jesus is the fulfillment of all prophecy and surpasses all prophets because he is God and the fullness of revelation. Furthermore, we believe that through our baptism we are set apart by God and established as a royal, priestly and prophetic nation.
This weekend Jesus is teaching in the Synagogue. It is remarkable to note how often the Gospels present Jesus as a teacher either by the things he says or by the things he is doing—today he is healing and dispelling demons by the power of his word. Although some are astonished at his teaching, others are slow to put their faith in him and still others would criticize him for doing such things in violation of restrictive religious law. There are still people like that today but no matter what, the Church continues the mission of Jesus in teaching the human race the truth about God and the human person as revealed by Jesus.
This week, it would be beneficial to reflect upon the value of Catholic schools and institutions that transmit Gospel values and promote the message of Jesus in concrete ways. In any school we learn to read, write, play sports and do arithmetic but in a Catholic environment we are also rooted in faith: it forms the whole person, which is an inestimable value. Looking back, the greatest gift I have ever received is my Catholic education. I was taught by Dominican Sisters from grade 1 to 12. Then later, my undergraduate and graduate studies were completed at Mount Angel Seminary with the Benedictines. My formal education has been specifically Catholic and I am both grateful and proud of that but I am also aware that such an opportunity does/has not been available to everyone. I grieve that. I wish Catholic schools were available and accessible for everyone. A big part of a Catholic school are the men and women vocations serving as teachers. Without religious vocations, the school numbers are diminishing. Because a Catholic School is not available to everyone, religious education programs in parishes are all the more important. Adults and children need to continue growing in knowledge and understanding of their faith so that they can more fully be prophets who proclaim the light of Christ. Participating in community activities like retreats, bible studies and missions are fun and easy ways to grow in faith. May God bless you always! +++ Fr. Peter