In today’s gospel a demon or “unclean spirit” obeys Jesus’ command to depart from a man. The forces of evil recognize the power of God’s word and cannot disobey a direct command. In the First Reading the Hebrews no longer want to hear the awesome voice of God. They are content to leave that to mediators like Moses, who will bring God’s word to them. Could it be that some even did not want to hear God’s word at all, because they did not want to have to obey it? The Lord pleads with the hardhearted among his people in today’s Responsorial Psalm: “Oh, that today you would hear [my] voice: ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah …’” Could that be an attitude that is present even in our day? Is this why so many do not come to Mass regularly, except when it is “convenient”? Is this why some politicians openly declare that their religious affiliation will have no bearing on the exercise of their offices? Is this why many believe that they do not need to go to confession, even though they live in open violation of God’s commandments and Church teaching? Do we really want to hear God’s word and the challenges it presents to us all for daily living and conversion of heart? The Lord says to us all: “Whoever will not listen to my words…I myself will make him answer for it.” (First Reading) Our God is an awesome God and his judgment is true and final. May we hear his voice each day and open our hearts to his grace and his will.
This weekend is the beginning of Catholic Schools Week. This year’s theme is, “Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.” The focus of Catholic education is our students and their formation in every dimension of their lives, including their faith. Nowhere else, outside the home, can young people receive the emphasis on learning and living the Catholic faith that our Catholic schools provide. No other school system has the freedom to integrate faith into every dimension of school life. Our Catholic schools are a treasure and we have reason to celebrate. May God bless the ministry of Catholic education. Thanks to all of you who provide prayerful and financial support to our Catholic schools.
This week two special blessings occur. On Tuesday, February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, candles will be blessed for use during the liturgy in the coming year. Candles for home use will also be blessed and made available for purchase. Wednesday, February 3, is the Memorial of Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, the patron saint against illnesses of the throat. The blessing of throats will be imparted at the Mass with St. Charles School students that day and at St. Peter’s School.
Pray the Rosary this week for students, parents and teachers, and for all who are a part of our McDonell Area Catholic Schools and St. Peter School in Tilden. Pray for an end to legalized abortion and the many other crimes against human life and dignity. As always pray for peace and the safety of military personnel serving abroad.
May God bless his people with peace.