Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.
Consider this a Public Service announcement. After October 1, 2020 a valid AZ Driver's License or I.D will no longer be a valid form of I.D for Federal identification purposes. Which means you will not be able to use it as a form of identification to board an airplane in the US, enter a military installation, nuclear power plants or a Federal prison (as a visitor; for inmates fingerprints and mugshot will do!). However, you will still be able to use a valid Passport, DHS Trusted Traveler card, or permanent resident card at TSA checkpoints at airports. If you desire you can obtain a new AZ Traveler I.D. (driver's license or I.D. card) but there is no obligation to do so and your current valid AZ driver's license will still be fine to use for driving and other non-federal I.D. purposes. The reason for this is that AZ has to comply with the Real I.D Act passed by the US Congress in 2005. (AZ was granted some extensions but that will end in October 2020.)READ MORE
When we let go of objective truth or moral absolutes, well anything can happen. Two cases that demonstrate the point. This year marks the 25th Anniversary since the Rwandan Genocide. The UN had Peace Keepers, troops on the ground and when the killing broke out the commander contacted the UN Headquarters and the UN President told him to stand down, “we don't take sides”. Which was in effect taking a side. You can never be neutral when it comes to evil. You either fight it or are complicit in it.READ MORE
As we head into the July 4th Holiday, the US Congress held a hearing to decide whether or not to form a Committee to study Reparations for Slavery. I heard someone say that “the US has never dealt with racism”. I would disagree with that as our history shows we have dealt plenty with racism, even if there is still more to deal with.
Many of our Founders did not want the new country to include slavery. But they soon realized that in order to get all the colonies on board they had to comprise. But many of them stated that the issue of chattel slavery sowed the seeds of future discord and division for the new nation. And so it did. A Civil War engulfed the country, in which it was the US Government that fought on the side to abolish slavery. So over 150 years ago slavery ended. But what did not end was the government’s ability to force segregation by law upon its citizens. Having “black only” sections for restaurants or restrooms was not the choice of the proprietors, it was a legal requirement.READ MORE
A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum, or actually the campaign for the highest seat in the land. Pete Buttigieg, the onetime mayor of South Bend announced his candidacy for the Presidential nomination alongside his same sex spouse. And everybody pretty much yawned. I am not sure if he was hoping to get extra points for having a same sex spouse but it didn't register too much. Still, he wasn't deterred in trying to use his same-sex marriage to bolster his campaign image. So he decided to attack Vice President Pence because of his support for traditional, man-woman marriage. Except that didn't garner him much sympathy either. The Vice President simply stated that while he was Governor of Indiana and Buttigieg was a Mayor in the state they got along very well. In fact, in his book, Buttigieg pretty much said the same. It's hard to win a fight when the other person won't attack you, darn Pence. THUMP. DUD!
Our society has become like the frog in the kettle, as time goes on, we don't even notice the temperature rising or the changes that have made the once unthinkable become the debatable and then the justifiable and finally the unexceptional. Same-sex marriage is pretty much now the unexceptionable. The media and Hollywood have normalized it to the point, as Buttigieg found out, gay is no longer radical chic. Come to think of it, wasn't normalization what they were aiming for all along?READ MORE
Here is one of my favorite prayers from St. Pio:
Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.
Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You, I am without fervor. Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light, and without You, I am in darkness.READ MORE
When the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles at Pentecost the results were incredible. The Spirit would not only change hearts and minds but cultures. For the Jew that meant leaving behind a way of life that had been practiced for generations. The Acts of the Apostles narrates the struggle they had with leaving behind the practice of circumcision, the Kosher dietary laws, the Jewish Ritual Purity practices and finally animal sacrifices. But for the Gentile convert the change was no less dramatic as it entailed leaving behind the practice of polygamy, same-sex behaviors, abortion and child sacrifice. Over the next 300 years the Holy Spirit-swept world would convert the Roman Empire from a Pagan culture to a Christian one that ascribed to Biblical values and norms.READ MORE
The month of June we traditionally remember the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The image of the Sacred Heart came into sharp focus during the period that Europe experienced the Black Plague and other natural disasters and hardships that took their toll on human life. In a way it was a reminder of the merciful love of Jesus and that despite present troubles we are not abandoned. The Sacred Heart reminds us even though God does not shield us from suffering and the troubles of life, He is always there to help us through and strengthen our broken hearts.
It also reminds us that, as the Scriptures repeat over and over again, that what afflicts humanity is a "hardness of heart" and only with hearts supple and open can we connect with the love of God through Jesus. That's why it's good for us to have an image of the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary on display in our homes. When we are tempted to hardness of heart or the things that make our hearts hard, like resentment, unforgiveness, anger, lack of gratitude, the image of the Heart of Jesus can call us back and remind us to soak our hearts in the love of Jesus.READ MORE