We Are the Galilee of the Gentiles...

With the 7th graders. Happy Catholic Schools Week!

Letters from a Pastor to His People- January 26, 2020

 

Dear Parishioners,

 

"He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali..." 

 

Galilee was a sort of melting pot, kind of like Chicago, I imagine.  Think about the people whom Jesus would encounter: fishermen, farmers, tax collectors, Roman soldiers (pagan), Jewish synagogue officials, beggars, rich landowners, Greeks, Syrians, etc.  Only in Galilee could have had the assortment of spiritual experiences.

 

Pope Francis made this comment in an Angelus address several years back:

 

Jesus' mission did not set out from Jerusalem, the religious, social and political centre, but rather began in a peripheral zone, an area regarded with disdain by the most devout Jews, on account of the presence in the region of various foreign populations. For this reason, the prophet Isaiah referred to it as 'Galilee of the Gentiles'. It was a border area, a transit zone where people of different races, cultures and religions encountered one another. Galilee therefore became a symbolic place for the opening of the Gospel to all peoples. From this point of view, Galilee resembles today's world: the co-presence of various cultures, the need for comparison and encounter. We too are immersed every day in a 'Galilee of the Gentiles', and in this type of context we can become fearful and give in to the temptation to build barriers, to feel more secure, more protected. But Jesus teaches us that the Good News He brings is not reserved for a part of humanity, but rather is to be communicated to all. It is a joyful proclamation, destined to all those who await it, but also to those who perhaps no longer await anything, or who no longer have even the strength to seek and to ask.

 

Francis is speaking about application of the Gospel message to the world.  Our community is a "Galilee of the Gentiles." We are all very different, be it our ethnicity, politics, economic level, whatever.  But these superficial differences can actually become a point of convergence.  We can be united in Christ.  Christ didn't go to a homogeneous group.  He fits with all sorts of people.

 

I would apply this same message to us individually as well.  Our souls are like a "Galilee of the Gentiles."  We have some virtue within us mixed with some sin.  We have conflicting desires (I want to exercise and be healthy, but I also want to eat that Portillo's chocolate cake).  This is ripe ground for the Lord to act.  Don't believe the lie that says your inner diversity is off-putting to the Lord.  Let me him walk among the fertile soil of your soul and bring harmony into your life.

 

This Sunday begins Catholic Schools Week across the Archdiocese of Chicago.  We will have a special celebration at the 11am Mass, followed by an open house in the school.  Please stop by the school, especially if you haven't seen our recent improvements, such as the courtyard, elevator, STEAM lab and painting.  Word of mouth is the best advertisement for the school, so please spread the good word to neighbors, family members and friends about Saint Juliana School!

 

On Wednesday, January 29th at 6:30pm in the church we will have First Reconciliation/First Communion parent meeting

 

Again, the Saint Juliana Book Club is reading The Devil's Advocate by Morris West. The discussion will take place next Saturday, February 1st at 9:30am.  Hope you will read and/or join us!

 

Yours in Christ,

Fr. James

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