January 15, 2021
Dear Friends on the Journey,
There are moments that bring us to a decision, after which there seems to be no changing course. When I worked in Jerusalem, we had a wonderful teacher who spoke of the moments in Jewish history which set the Jewish people in certain directions. Daniel Rossing was his name, and he suggested that modern Jewish Israelis looked at the Shoah (the Holocaust) and responded in one of two ways: 1) “They will never do this to us again,” or 2) “They will never do this to anyone again.”
While both responses are understandable, the first has the effect of closing one’s heart, the second of opening one’s heart.
Daniel’s observation has been on my heart this last week in the wake of the Capitol insurrection.
One response may be to say about “those people: how can we get back at ‘those people’: denounce them, imprison them, keep them off airplanes, ridicule them, vote them out of office, take away their guns, demonize them.”
Or another response may be “How can we work towards all Americans feeling that they belong, and how can we open our ears to their hurts, their sense of betrayal?”
Jesus had a funny way of turning a question on the questioner: Once, when one astute lawyer, invited to love his neighbor, responded, “Well just who is my neighbor?” Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). He did not directly answer the question, but turned it around to say, in effect, “It’s not a matter of defining your neighbor, but of becoming a neighbor to one another.”
So what is a Catholic Christian to do? I think we need to examine our conscience and our mind as to which question are we answering with our lives. That is, if the primary question is “How can we get back at them?” then the answers will unfold quite predictably.
If our primary answer – being turned around in our tracks and perhaps against the cultural tide we swim in – is to “What will we become in this moment,” I think another set of answers will lead us down a different path.
This turnaround finds expression in the prayer of St Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
This is not, I suggest, a facile answer but a life-giving direction that we have to give to our country, to our Church, to one another.
Martin Luther King Day Reflection Night- 7-8:30pm, Monday, January 18. As part of our Paulist Center’s Commitment to Racial Justice, join the Young Adult Ministry in commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and ideals. We will have the opportunity to gather virtually in prayer, watch some less-known clips of Dr. King himself, and have a chance to discuss how his words can guide us into the new year. We will also have some time to meditate and reflect on his life and legacy.
Please RSVP using this Google Form. After you RSVP you will be emailed a Zoom link the day of the event that will allow you to access the meeting.
Join us for a 45-Minute Virtual Prayer Service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Led by Paulist Fr Tom Ryan, this ecumenical service will originate from the Paulist Center Chapel at 7pm, Thursday, January 21st. The link is here. For a schedule of all the week’s events, go here.
For Cardinal Sean’s Statement on the Resumption of Federal Executions, go here.
Some Paulist Fathers’ News:
Next weekend (January 23 and 24), local Paulist Father John Geaney will be preaching at both weekend Masses for the Annual Paulist Appeal.
On Monday night, January 25th, 8:30pm, the national Paulist Fathers will offer a National Celebration/Kickoff of their Comprehensive Capital Campaign. Link to come next week!
Worshiping In-Person at the Paulist Center Chapel
(imperative if you will be worshiping with us)…
How to reserve a place?
Please call the Center (617.742.4460) Wednesday through Friday during business hours (10am-5pm). Sal, our receptionist, will take your name and contact information (either email or phone number. We need this information so that we can contact you should we become aware, after the liturgy, of a person with Covid who attended your Mass).
Here’s the YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/plJtFTK5mAI
2) Paulist Center Families’ Second Sunday, 10am, Sunday, January 17th:
See Fr. Mike’s Email Missive for the link details.
3) Paulist Center Rosary Circle. 7:30pm every Monday.
Here’s the Zoom Link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/487503158
Meeting ID: 487 503 158; Passcode: 021078
4) All are welcome to a half-hour prayer gathering with/from the Paulist Center’s LGBTQ+ group next Wednesday, 7pm. See Fr. Michael’s email missive for the url.
Ways of Giving:
Our “Community Gift” is the Paulist Center’s tradition of giving away 5% of our weekend offerings, averaged out over the whole year, to a group outside of ourselves. This week, we lift up the Boston Rescue Mission. The Boston Rescue Mission transforms lives by empowering individuals experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless to achieve and sustain life skills necessary to become more self-sufficient.. Thank you so much for your generosity!
We are so very grateful for your support during this time of uncertainly and financial peril. Here are two ways to give:
- To make a one-time or recurring donation using your bank account or credit card, click on the following link: https://tinyurl.com/DonatePaulistCenter
Giving by text: Text 844-899-7511 with the amount you would like to donate (whole dollars only). Donations collected this way will be designated as part of the “Weekend Offering.”
- Giving by text: Text a whole dollar donation amount to 844-899-7511; this will be designated as your “Weekend Offering.”
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I conclude now with the Prophet Micah 6:8:
Our Faithful God has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
And let us pray for/with one another.
Michael McGarry, C.S.P.
Director, the Paulist Center
Along with Patty, Chuck, Susan, Peter, Dorothy, John, Barbara, Rob, Alvaro, and Sal. Please feel free to call upon your Pastoral Ministers if you wish.
I will be sending out something every Thursday or Friday as the “shut down” continues.