The episode in today’s Gospel of Jesus rebuking the wind and quieting the sea ends with the disciples asking the question, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?” Today’s First Reading gives us a clue to the answer to this question as God proclaims to Job that he alone governs the forces of nature. The answer is given in the very first verse of Mark’s gospel: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.” The rest of Mark’s gospel, then, should be read with this in mind: Jesus is the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah or Anointed of the Lord; and he is the Son of God, whom we know to be God the Son, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, become man. This affirmation is something that the disciples in Mark’s gospel never quite make. As Mark portrays the disciples, they never quite get it. Perhaps Mark intended to show how much they were changed by their experience of the Risen Lord. The only explicit affirmation of Jesus’ divinity in Mark’s gospel comes from one of the centurions who witnessed his crucifixion: “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39) Apart from that, for Mark it is the power Jesus demonstrates in his miracles and the authority with which he speaks that form the basis for our profession of faith in him.
Later this week the priests of our diocese will be gathering in La Crosse for Priest Unity Days, which has been held annually for over 40 years with the exception of last year. On Thursday, June 24, Bishop Callahan will celebrate the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral, during which the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of Catechumens will be blessed, and the Sacred Chrism will be consecrated. These will be used in the administration of the sacraments throughout the diocese. The Chrism Mass is usually celebrated during Holy Week, but has been delayed until now because of gathering restrictions due to the pandemic. Priest Unity Days will conclude on Saturday, June 26, with the ordination of three new priests: Timothy Reither from St. Charles Parish, Eric Mashak from Cooks Valley, and Arturo Vigueras from Stevens Point. Unfortunately attendance at both the Chrism Mass and the ordination Mass is restricted this year, but both can be viewed on the diocese’s YouTube channel. There will be no Masses at St. Charles or St. Peter on Thursday and Friday morning this week.
This leads up to the First Mass of Thanksgiving to be celebrated by newly-ordained Father Timothy Reither at 3:30 next Sunday afternoon at St. Charles Church. There is no restriction on attendance. The usual schedule of confessions and Masses will still be in force next weekend. On this last weekend as a deacon, Deacon Reither is preaching the homily during all the Masses at both our parishes.
Today we ask God’s blessing upon fathers and the grace to fulfill the vocation God has entrusted to them. At the same time we are reminded of the honor due to fathers according to the scriptures: “The Lord sets a father in honor over his children. He who honors his father atones for sins. He who reveres his father will live a long life. In word and deed honor your father that his blessing may come upon you, for a father’s blessing gives a family firm roots. Kindness to a father will not be forgotten, it will serve as a sin offering—it will take lasting root.” (Cf. Sirach 3:2a, 3, 6a, 8-9a, 14)
June 30 marks the end of our fiscal year. Thanks to your regular support, both parishes should end the fiscal year with all bills paid. However both parishes are still several thousand dollars short of their targets for the Diocesan Annual Appeal. Remember that this Appeal supports the education of seminarians, support personnel for parish and school administration, and replaces 14 collections for national and global ministries formerly taken up in the course of each year. While a few more donors have given since last week, two out of three households have contributed nothing to this diocesan-wide appeal. Please consider helping us meet our goal in the support of the wider church.
Pray the rosary this week for fathers living and deceased, for needed rain for the growing season, for our seminarians and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.