Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
June 21, 2020
Brothers and Sisters, Greetings and Peace!
Upon acceptance of an award or the winning of a championship, a speech is often expected. Those speeches often make acknowledgment of those who supported them. The MVP gives credit to the whole team, and the actress or actor praises the cast and crew of the production. If you were to receive today an award for the impact of your life on the world, on our community, or on your family, who would you acknowledge?
Many people choose to acknowledge God, even before naming their loved ones. God deserves to be acknowledged first. Shortly before this Gospel passage, Jesus is teaching the twelve who he will send out, “like sheep in the midst of wolves.” While he is warning them of dangers, Jesus also assures them that the Spirit will speak through them, providing them the wisdom to respond. Our words are not to be calculated and prepared from our own intelligence, but to be a response from prayer and a reliance upon God. God provides for us and nourishes us with the very life of his Son. Therefore, he deserves to be acknowledged, even when those words fail to be adequate.
On June 19th, we celebrated as a Church the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. This important feast focuses us on the generous love of Jesus, with the image of the lance piercing the heart of Jesus at the crucifixion. From his heart flowed blood and water, the wellspring of the sacraments, especially Baptism and the Eucharist. As we focus on the love of Christ, let us implore the help of God that we may love God, love our family, friends, and neighbors, and love ourselves with that same wondrous love!
On this same day, many people in our nation celebrated Juneteenth. I admit that I was not aware of the significance of this celebration until this year. As our nation is in turmoil, not only from the pandemic but also from the acts of injustice, hatred, and racism that plague our society, Juneteenth marks an important historical moment. Over 2 years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, although slavery was legally ended, on June 19, 1865, abolition of slavery was announced in Texas and with that the complete emancipation of all slaves. This marked a critical moment in our history, but sadly not an end of the impact of slavery. Racism and prejudice continue to plague our society. As I read in a talk this week, it is not enough that we are non-racist but we have to be anti-racism. It is not enough that we compare ourselves to other nations and societies and claim to be more advanced. We must root out this societal sin that denies the truth of our common dignity as daughters and sons of God. How do we eliminate this sin and its effects of hatred and violence? While often a contentious issue, let us ask the Spirit in prayer to lead us, that all of us may accept our role in building God’s kingdom of peace and justice.
This week, the Office of Black Catholics in the Archdiocese released this prayer, adapted from Racial Healing and Liturgical Resources.
We pray, O Lord, for change.
Jesus you revealed God through your wise words and loving deeds,
and we encounter you still today in the faces of those whom society has pushed to the margins.
Guide us, through the love you revealed, to establish the justice you proclaimed,
that all peoples might dwell in harmony and peace, united by that one love that binds us to each other, and to you.
And most of all, Lord, change our routine worship and work into a genuine encounters with you and our better selves so that our lives will be changed for the good of all.
This week also brought new other important communications for our community:
◾The Catholic Bishops of Maryland released a pastoral letter, acknowledging the problems of racial inequality and injustice. They courageously acknowledge the truth of our painful history and express gratitude to the gifts of Black Catholics. At a time when school segregation was still the norm in Maryland, the two bishops of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. spoke out against this injustice and began the painful process of desegregating Catholic parishes and schools. In the letter, our bishops called us today to go beyond prayer and dialogue, which are important, but fall short of the action leading to true change. They recognized the challenges and the need to expand reforms to include “access to health and maternal care, meaningful educational opportunities, prison reforms, restorative justice initiatives, housing anti-discrimination efforts, juvenile justice reforms, and ending the grossly disparate practice of capital punishment.”
◾Archbishop Lori and Bishop-elect Bruce Lewandowski also issued a statement in support of the Supreme Court’s decision on DACA. This Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals acknowledges the challenges of many undocumented minors and offers the necessary access to education for these dreamers. We acknowledge the natural passion to support our children and offer them limitless possibilities to follow their dreams. Let us continue to work toward viable immigration policies that recognize and promote basic human dignity and afford families the opportunity to support themselves in a safe and supportive environment.
◾The Howard County Public School System Board approved the school budget for this upcoming academic year. Not included was a long-standing bus service offered to our parochial school community since 1943. This decision was made without regard to the voices who spoke out in the Spring when the community responded loudly and clearly as the School Board proposed eliminating the bus service as a cost-saving. Not considered by the Board is the $15,000 per-pupil expenditure not incurred by public school taxpayers for the students of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Augustine, Resurrection-St. Paul, St. Louis, Trinity School and other private schools. While this service may seem small in scale, yet for our families who make the sacrifices to send their children to our Catholic Schools, it is considerable. We invite you to support our school families in reaching out to the School Board at firstname.lastname@example.org requesting consideration of this support.
◾Be sure to check out This Video offered by Seminarian, John-Paul LeGare, where he has a chance to introduce himself and extend an invitation to our high school youth (raising 9th through 12th graders) to attend Quo Vadis. This year’s event, July 20-22, has been modified by the planning team of seminarians and offered at six locations throughout the diocese, to reduce numbers centrally gathered. These three days offer our young gentleman the opportunity to reflect on God’s call in their lives in a prayerful, supportive, and dynamic environment. It is also filled with fun and activities, and I encourage you to visit this WEBSITE for more information and to register. Feel free to reach out to John-Paul with any questions at email@example.com.
◾As we close out this fiscal and academic year, I would like to once again express my gratitude to you in your support of the mission of our parish. With those who joined electronic giving along with those who had already been giving through our partner FaithDirect, and those who mailed in their offertory, our income–while down significantly–has covered our expenses these past months. As our fiscal team prepared a budget for next year, we find ourselves in a place where our expected income will not cover our projected expenses. In union for the programs we offer through OLPH, I appeal to those who are able to take a step in support through on-line giving – olphparish.org/giving/. Thank you for your generosity amidst your own needs.
On this Father’s Day, we also acknowledge our fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, godfathers, and all father figures in our lives. Let us thank the Lord for the ways in which they reveal the love and protection of our heavenly Father. While they fall short of the perfection of God, let us be grateful for their efforts to encourage us and help us to grow as God’s children. Starting today for the next 9 days, we’ll offer Mass for our fathers. May the Lord bless all our fathers with peace and joy!
Lastly, we look forward to worshiping with you again next Sunday. As a reminder, please do “sign up” for Mass on June 27 or 28 HERE. And be certain to visit our liturgy schedule HERE as we now are able to offer a set weekly schedule.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
In the Lord,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett