Let your light shine in the darkness!

02-02-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Today (Sunday) is one of those special times when an important Feast of the Church falls on a Sunday. The Feast of the Presentation, which we celebrate on February 2nd, marks the 40th day since Christmas. This feast recalls how Mary and Joseph brought the infant Jesus to the Temple to present Him to the Lord. While they were there, a holy man named Simeon-who had been promised by God that he would not die until he saw the Savior-and a holy woman named Anna both rejoiced and told all those present the Good News about Jesus.

We celebrate the Feast of the Presentation by blessing candles-and carrying them in procession at the major Masses that day. The candles remind us that Jesus is the Light of the World. We are also reminded that when we live by His teaching, we let His Light shine through us in this world. Our charity towards the poor, forgiveness of enemies, honesty and integrity should all shine against the darkness of sin.

One person who let the Light of Christ shine brightly in his life was St. Blaise, whose feast day will be celebrated this Monday (February 3). St. Blaise was a bishop in Armenia right around the year 300. He spread the Gospel and helped Christians keep their faith while under persecution-as are so many Christians today. Bishop Blaise was also known for his great charity-which was an expression of his faith in Christ.

Most of us know the story of how-while being taken to be killed for his faith-Bishop Blaise blessed a boy who had stopped breathing because something was lodged in his throat. The boy’s mother held him up to the good bishop-whose blessing brought God’s healing. For this reason, Catholics traditionally seek God’s blessing upon their throats on the Feast of St. Blaise. This blessing is a sign of our faith in God’s power over illness and evil.

Accordingly, throats will be blessed in our Church tomorrow at the 6:45am, 8am, and 12:10pm Mass - and at a brief Prayer Service at 7pm. I encourage everyone to have their throats blessed especially at this time of the year.

Today is Boy Scout Sunday - and a number of Boy Scouts will participate in the 11am Mass. Some of them have earned; or are close to earning Catholic religious medals and badges. Earning these badges required the scouts to learn more about their faith and perform age appropriate good works-thus letting their light shine! Be sure to congratulate them after Mass.

As you know, a busload of people from our parish attended the March for Life in Washington, DC last week. I have never seen so many people at the March in my life - and I’ve been to at least 20 of them! It was inspiring to see so many people stand up for God’s gift of life - like a light shining in the darkness.

At the same time, it is essential that we bring our light by bringing the goodness of Christ to so many people oppressed by darkness in our world. Bringing food for the poor, helping the Inter-faith Hospitality Network assist the homeless, praying for children separated from their parents, and comforting a family going through a tough time are all ways we can do something to let the Light of Christ shine.

Finally, please pray for the nearly 90 young men and women who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in our Church this Friday evening. They have been preparing for this for a long time, and have let their light shine by performing acts of Christian Charity as part of their preparation. Pray that, as they go through life, they will build an ever-stronger relationship with the Holy Spirit who strengthens them in Confirmation, and so let the Light of Christ shine brightly in this world.

Have a great week!

Fr. John