The 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
From the Pastor’s Desk
January 29, 2023
“Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.”
~1 Corinthians 1:27-29
“Alice replied, rather shyly, “I–I hardly know, Sir, just at present – at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” In this passage from author Lewis Carroll’s literary classic, Alice in Wonderland, we find our protagonist and young child, Alice, straddling two worlds, one quite real and another altogether unworldly, with bizarre characters and rules. As a result, she loses her bearings and a sense of who she is, but as she makes her way through Wonderland, Alice grows up and confidently claims her place in the world.
God wants the same for us. Our Creator wants us to be truly comfortable with our authentic selves, understanding we don’t belong to a world defined by societal trends, cultural influences, or political identities. So how do we ground ourselves in Christ? In his letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul gives us some insight into what to avoid — division. Like the early Christians choosing sides among either the esteemed teacher, “I belong to Paul,” or the first Pope, “I belong to Cephas (Peter),” we shouldn’t squabble over loyalties. We can’t truly become whom God needs us to be when divided.
Simply put, we belong to Christ. Yet, not in a privileged way that sets us above or apart from others. When we start reimagining our lives through Christ’s eyes, we can confidently know who we are and to whom we belong, opening the way to meaningful relationships with those in our lives while building up God’s kingdom right here on earth.
With that aim of realizing we are all members of Christ’s Body – not because we chose Him but because Jesus chose us, our parish faith formation program and OLPH School have embraced the same school-year theme, “Claimed and Consecrated, we belong to the One Body in Christ.” As St. Paul reminds us, when we make who we are and how we live about God, even in our weakness and lowliness, the Lord accomplishes the marvelous!
As we, and the entire Dioceses of Baltimore, celebrate Catholic Schools this week, let’s thank God for our beloved Parish school and our neighboring Catholic and Christian schools, including Trinity, St. Augustine, St. Mark, St. Agnes, and Resurrection-St. Paul, St. Louis, and Lamb of God. I thank God for placing Catholic education in our lives – at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, in our parish faith formation classes, and perhaps most importantly, in our parishioners’ homes so that we might all surrender all things to God’s greater glory.
For families discerning Catholic education for their children, please check out https://olphschool.org/fast-facts/ or call 410-744-4251 to learn about the fantastic things happening at our school.
Finally, while I’m away on vacation, I’m grateful to Fr. Frank Iacona with Cross Catholic Outreach (CrossCatholic.org) for celebrating Mass with our parish and sharing how we can be involved in the missionary work among the poorest in developing countries. Count on my prayers while I’m away.