All of Us – #137

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     Fr. Larry Lisowski Immaculate Conception St. Joseph Parishes Catholic Church in Chicago

God Cares

Today's first reading reminds me of the epic movie released in 1956, The Ten Commandments, that was directed by Cecil B. DeMille, and featured Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner. As a young kid, I watched the movie on the big screen at the Milford theater that was once located at the corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Pulaski. My brothers and I were on the edge of our seats, caught up in the drama of the Old Testament story. When I saw Moses standing before the burning bush on the mountain, I stopped eating my popcorn and turned to my older brother and said, "Wow. Look at that." I realized at an early age that the Bible was filled with some amazing stories.

The readings we hear at Mass today on this the Third Sunday of Lent remind us that God is very concerned about his people; and that God also has a pretty good memory. Simply put, God does not forget about us.

The people of Israel remained in Egypt far too long. They were initially attracted to Egypt by its earthly resources. But in time, they became prisoners to its rulers and cried out for help. God listened, and was willing to deliver them. 

Moses was called by God to set the people free. God knows that the people have been suffering. He wants to set them free from their oppression. The whole point of the story is that God is there for them, and will lead them to safety and freedom.

The good news for us is that God is always there, and he will always be there for us as well. God never wants our relationship to end.

The question for us this Lent is; how can we get closer to God than we already are? It happens through our humility and repentance, that is why we fast, pray, and care for those in need. Our journey through Lent reminds us that our journey through life consists of living a life of repentance and conversion. 

This is why we are here for Mass today. Our hearts long to be in communion with God. The desire to get close to God is a treasure, a precious gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus in the Eucharist has the power to lead us to a fuller experience of joy here on earth.  

The Knights of Columbus

This weekend we welcome members of the Knights of Columbus from the council of Old St. Michael's parish in Old Town. The men of Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph parishes have been invited to join with them in their ministry and service. 

The Knights of Columbus have a rich tradition of being men of faith and men of action. They are dedicated to using their time, talents and resources to assist and fund many charities, promote vocations, and provide scholarships. Their charitable activities encompass local, national and international projects, from international charitable partnerships with Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity to local Food Pantries and our Chicago Catholic Charities. As a Knight you have the opportunity to support your parish, give back to your community and grow in your faith. Members of the Knights of Columbus will be available after Mass this weekend to answer any questions for those who seek more information about their organization. 

A View From The Pew

Last Sunday I attended Mass at St. Theresa's parish in Ft. Meyers, Florida. It was nice to pray in the pew with the other folks while on vacation and not to have to worry about putting a homily together for the weekend, or if the bulletin would arrive on time, or if the second collection would be taken-up.

I felt guilty walking into church during the first reading and being ushered to the last seat up front by the altar. I silently thanked God that I was wearing my pink golf shirt and not my Roman collar, and that the priest did not give me the "evil-eye." The church was packed with "faith-filled snow birds" that have migrated to the south for the winter. Practically all of the 1,500 seats were taken. 

The pastor started his homily by saying, "In my younger days, I taught religion in high school. In my first year, I taught sophomores, then for five years I taught seniors."

Then he paused, and with a smile on his face said, "And now years later, I am still teaching seniors”.

– Fr. Larry