- MUST SEE WEBSITE: Institute of School and Parish Development (Catholic Website of the week)
- Pope Francis Declares 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time "Sunday of the Word of God"
(Diocesan News and BEYOND)-READ END OF E-WEEKLY
- The Blessings of a Catholic School (Helpful Hints for Life)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
Catholic Schools Week
".they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions." Luke 2:46
This week nearly 2 million children celebrate Catholic Schools Week. Many of us may have attended a Catholic school in our time. Many remember the dear nuns, or a wonderful lay teacher who had big shoes to fill, yet brought his or her uniqueness to the classroom.
"Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old." Matthew 13:52
Regardless of who taught us and how we were educated, Catholic Schools have a value that is not found elsewhere because what they teach concerns God and heaven, our true home.
"Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit." 1 Thessalonians 4:8
Solid Catholic Schools and the education and formation they provide are needed now more than ever. To bring one into a real, personal encounter with Jesus Christ and His beloved bride, the Church, on a daily basis is what Catholic Schools seek to do. Yet these blessed institutions do not happen by accident. They occur when the Father's blessing touches the honest, hard work of men and women of faith who love the Faith and children.
"do not be too hard on your children so they will become angry. Instruct them in their growing years with Christian teaching." -Ephesians 6:4
As millions of children continue to experience the blessings of Catholic Schools and celebrate it, let us give thanks to God for these schools, pray for them to bear fruit, and do all we can to support (as those who have went before us have supported them) that which has brought so many blessings to this earth, and so that this blessing will not disappear from the earth.
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time. >> Readings
Catholic School (from Late Latin catholicus, from Greek katholikos "universal, general"+ from Latin schola, from Greek scholē "discussion, lecture, school")
- an institution under the supervision of the Church whose corporate policy is to train the students in the Gospel message of salvation as taught by the teaching authority of the Catholic Church given to her by Jesus Christ and guaranteed by the Holy Spirit
In the words of the Second Vatican Council, "It is the special function of the Catholic school to develop in the school community an atmosphere animated by a spirit of liberty and charity based on the Gospel. It enables young people, while developing their own personality, to grow at the same time in that new life which has been given them at baptism. Finally it so orients the whole of human culture to the message of salvation that the knowledge which the pupils acquire of the world, of life and of men is illumined by faith. Thus, the Catholic school, taking into consideration as it should the conditions of an age of progress, prepares its pupils to contribute effectively to the welfare of the world of men and to work for the extension of the kingdom of God" (Declaration on Christian Education, 8).
-prayer of Saint Augustine of Hippo
Prayer is what connects us to God and is communication with God, so it is central to the life of any human person.
Catholic Schools assist parents and families in the necessary and essential task of teaching children how to pray.
. Children do not only pray at Catholic Schools multiple times throughout the day,
they are taught how to pray, listening to God and responding to His call and direction.
. Teachers and staff not only pray themselves, but witness lives of prayer to students.
. Prayer is not just something done as much as it is something lived.
Catholic Schools move students and families to become persons of living prayer moment to moment, day to day.
"We chose a Catholic school for our children to help them grow in the faith. The children learn in an environment that constantly reinforces Catholic values. Their academic year is busy and challenging yet the focus is always the teaching of Christ. Our attempts at parenting and educating our children center around planting seeds of faith that will carry the growth into adulthood." - St. Joseph School parent, Vancouver
A Catholic Education is a Challenging Education
High standards, strong motivation, effective discipline and an atmosphere of caring combine to foster
excellence and a high quality of student performance is supported by the evidence.
. Catholic school students score an average of 20% higher than state scores on norm-reference and achievement tests.
. Research shows that because of a greater emphasis on homework and study,
Catholic school students develop more effective writing skills.
. Catholic high school students attend post-secondary education at a rate of 97%
and are more likely to complete their program of studies.
. Catholic school students graduate from high school at a rate of 99%.
"A Catholic education is based in the values of respect, shared knowledge and love. These
values support a nurturing structure where students can thrive and grow. Starting from a base
of respect and love, students are given knowledge that will prepare them for high school and a
lifetime of learning. Catholic education has an unmatched tradition of success in bringing out
the best in students around the world." - Roger VanOosten, Our Lady of the Lake, Seattle
Have you considered a Catholic Education for your child?
A Catholic School is a Community
Parents and family are recognized as the primary educators and Catholic Schools join with them to form a living community of shared visions.
. Catholic schools join with the family to help students understand their special place in the family, the Church, and society.
. Catholic schools encourage family input and involvement in the ongoing education of their children.
Research shows that such a partnership results in higher attendance rates and lower dropout rates.
. Catholic schools strive to create a special bond among the students, the home, the school, and the
Church, so that all share the strong sense of community.
. The Catholic community shares the cost of education where tuition is often supplemented by the parish.
"There is something powerful about Catholic school communities that allow us to come
together, to be together, to trust one another in the kind of fellowship that allows us to care for
one another in long and lasting and enduring and committed ways." - Ed Taylor, St. Therese, Seattle
A Catholic Education Fosters Compassion and Service
. All schools include service learning and community service, starting with the Kindergarten.
. In Catholic schools there is a mutual respect which exists among students, faculty, and
administrators which generates an atmosphere of care and concern.
. Catholic schools help students understand that each person is unique and valuable.
. Catholic school students are more likely go on to serve the Church and society as lay and religious leaders.
"When my father passed away 19 years ago, I transferred from a public school to a Catholic
school in eighth grade. The acceptance and support I found there helped me deal with my
grief. I continued on to Catholic high school and college because of my experience. I am
grateful for the many blessings I received from Catholic school."
- St. Frances Cabrini School parent, Tacoma
"Young people of the third millennium must be a source of energy and leadership in our Church and our nation. Therefore, we must provide young people with an academically rigorous and doctrinally sound program of education and faith formation designed to strengthen their union with Christ and his Church. Catholic schools collaborate with parents and guardians in raising and forming their children as families struggle with the changing and challenging cultural and moral contexts in which they find themselves. Catholic schools provide young people with sound Church teaching through a broad-based curriculum, where faith and culture are intertwined in all areas of a school's life. By equipping our young people with a sound education, rooted in the Gospel message, the Person of Jesus Christ, and rich in the cherished traditions and liturgical practices of our faith, we ensure that they have the foundation to live morally and uprightly in our complex modern world. This unique Catholic identity makes our Catholic elementary and secondary schools "schools for the human person" and allows them to fill a critical role in the future life of our Church, our country, and our world."
(US Bishops: Catholic Schools on the Threshold, no. 9)
Why Parents Choose A Catholic School For Their Child
"My kids have all come to school and been really shy. Yet, over the years they opened up and
by the time they're in the upper grades they do really well. . . . my kids have excelled here,
they've done really well, they love their friends, and they've loved everything about school."
- Paul Sauvage, St. Joseph, Seattle
"I chose a Catholic school education for my children because of the gospel values that
permeate the curriculum, the opportunity for daily prayer and reflection, and the reinforcement
of what we as parents teach our children at home. Teamwork!"
- St. Brendan School parent, Bothell
"There are a lot of good schools of all kinds, but at many of them the ethic seems to be: 'What
are you going to do for my precious child?' In Catholic school the ethic is 'What are we -
together - going to do for our precious children?'"
- David Horsey, St. Benedict, Seattle
"A Catholic School is a great place for your children to learn and grow. The community and school families welcome new students and make families feel welcome. Children learn in small class sizes and are able to benefit with one on one attention when needed. The afterschool program helps students with parents that can be there after school to pick them up."
St. Michael School parent, Radom, Illinois
In a very special way, parents share in the office of sanctifying "by leading a conjugal life in the Christian spirit and by seeing to the Christian education of their children."
-Catechism of the Catholic Church 2226
"The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents."
-Catechism of the Catholic Church 2226
CELEBRATE "SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD" THIS 3RD SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
Pope Francis in Sept., 2019, asked directed that the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time also be designated Sunday of Word of God. The Word of God is living and effective and meant to wash over our lives.
Our Lord had the hearts of his disciples on the road to Emmaus burning within them as he explained the Sacred Scriptures. Jesus prayed the Sacred Scriptures as all devout Jews of His time. By drawing closer to the love letters of our Heavenly Father, we will be more fed spiritually, and be more able to feed the true hunger of others.
Check in with your Parish Priest, and see what might be going on. And then with his permission, possibly do some of the following: Pass out good material on the Sunday readings this Sunday. Give a special blessing of lectors at the Sunday Masses. Challenge parishioners to read the entire chapter that each Sunday reading comes from. Look for Diocesan opportunities to share with your local parish.
Since Catholicism is imbued with sacramental celebrations, scholars note that Scripture can take a backseat to other aspects of church life. Statistics support this conjecture, with over 50 percent of Catholics saying they seldom or never read the Bible, according to a 2014 Pew survey. That compares to just 18 percent of Evangelical Protestants who rarely crack open the Good Book.
However, the reticence to read Scripture is understandable from the perspective of Bible scholars. Catholics were not widely encouraged to read Scripture until the 20th century, when Pope Pius XII extolled the practice in his encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu in 1943. Over two decades later, the Second Vatican Council produced Dei Verbum, which amplified Pius’s message to a wider audience.
Dr. Gina Hens-Piazza, President of the Catholic Biblical Association of America, told Crux she feels some Catholics are afraid to read the Bible, worrying they might err in their interpretation.
Despite this, “the Catholic believer has an opportunity, and perhaps even a responsibility, to become a student of Scripture,” she said.
Hens-Piazza, who is a professor of Old Testament studies at Jesuit School of Theology, said the Church should “empower” people and inform them that “they have the capacity to study Scripture.”
Hens-Piazza noted that while many “bright” people attend American parishes, “their understanding of Scripture - if they ever get occasion to study it - probably ended at a very early age.”
Holy Cross Father Adam Booth, a doctoral student studying the New Testament at Duke University, said the desire for more Catholics to read Scripture likely influenced the institution of Sunday of the Word of God.
Booth compared the decision by Pope Francis to establish this Sunday’s event to Pope John Paul II’s institution of the Luminous Mysteries in 2002.
“Sometimes we look at the range of things we commemorate liturgically, and we see what’s missing,” he said.
Booth said the “gaps” that form in how we devote our prayer - such as the earthly life of Jesus in the case of the Luminous Mysteries - are aspects of faith dealt with so often, they are sometimes not celebrated.
While the Bible is present in both the readings and many of the prayers at Mass, Booth said there’s no clear time to reflect on “the gift that God has given us words.”
Sunday of the Word of God falls on the third Sunday in Ordinary Time and will become an annual occasion for the Church. None of the readings or propers of the Mass will change, but Francis hopes congregations throughout the world will celebrate “with a certain solemnity.”
While churches decide how to create that “certain solemnity” on an individual level, Booth and Hens-Piazza both had suggestions on how to celebrate the occasion.
Hens-Piazza said the creation of something called lexical groups could be a resource for parishes to further explore Scripture.
She explained the concept: “Whoever is responsible for homilies the following Sunday would invite a sample of members of the community” to a session during the week, where the readings would be discussed. From there, the homilist could “let the homily grow out of that discussion.”
With lexical groups, what parishioners reflect on in the readings “actually becomes a part of what is the preaching message,” Hens-Piazza said.
She also said parishes could take a moment during this weekend’s Mass to bless and recognize ministers of the Word in the congregation.
Booth told Crux on Tuesday that he had not yet prepared his homily for the weekend, but planned to preach on the idea of how the New Testament fulfills the Old Testament, a concept found in Sunday’s readings.
Noting that Catholics do not read the whole Bible through readings at Mass, Booth suggested reading beyond the selected passage for a given Sunday to gain more context of the Scriptures.
Noting that Catholics do not read the whole Bible through readings at Mass, Booth suggested reading beyond the selected passage for a given Sunday to gain more context of the Scriptures.
“If we’re reading six verses from Matthew 3 this week, why don’t you sit down and read the whole of Mathew 3?” he offered.
Both Booth and Hens-Piazza said that reviewing the Sunday readings ahead of time is a great tactic for families with young children.
“It can give the kids a sense of something to listen for,” said Booth. “They can pick out in advance something that might be meaningful for their family.”
While Sunday of the Word of God might shine a light on a soft spot for American Catholics, Hens-Piazza said she hopes the annual event will spread new ways to encounter the Bible.
“There’s so many things we can do that Catholics have a 15- or 20-minute introduction to three texts,” she said.
God Always Chooses The 'Little Ones,' Pope Francis Reflects
"There is a relationship between God and us little ones: God, when he must choose people, even his own people, he always chooses the little ones," the Pope said during his Jan. 21 homily.
Addressing those who were present in the Vatican's Saint Martha guesthouse, Pope Francis centered his homily on the day's first reading, taken from the First Book of Samuel in which the prophet anoints David as king upon the Lord's rejection of his older brothers.
Turning his thoughts to our own personal relationship with God, the Pope highlighted how we are God's people, and that "in a people, everyone has his post."
However, the pontiff said that although we belong to the People of God, "the Lord never speaks to the people like this, to the mass, never."
"He always speaks personally, with names. And he personally chooses," the Pope explained, adding that the story of creation shows us this because "it is the same Lord that with his hands made man and gave him a name: 'You are called Adam.'"
"And so begins that story between God and the person. And another thing, there is a relationship between God and us little ones: God, when he must choose people, even his own people, he always chooses the little ones."
Emphasizing how there is always a "dialogue between God and human littleness," the Pope recalled the words of Mary in her Gospel canticle when she said that "the Lord has looked upon my humility."
Returning to the first reading, the pontiff observed that we can see this attitude of the Lord "clearly" when Samuel first thinks that Jesse's eldest son is to be the anointed one because he is "tall" and "big," but instead the Lord tells him "at his appearance or his height," because "I have rejected him because it does not matter what man sees."
Instead, the Lord chooses David, the youngest, who "did not count for his father," the Pope continued, highlighting how the Lord chooses according to his own criteria, and not that of the world.
He chooses "the weak and the meek, to confound the mighty of the earth," the Pope said, recalling that although Jesse said that he was not home, David "was elected."
"All of us with Baptism have been elected by the Lord. We all are elected. He has chosen us one by one," he observed, adding that God "has given us a name and he watches over us" and that "there is a dialogue, because the Lord loves in this way."
"Even David became king, and then he made a mistake...he has made many perhaps, but the Bible tells us of two big ones, two heavy mistakes."
However, after committing these sins, "What did David do?" the pontiff asked, recalling that "He humbled himself. And returned to his littleness and said: 'I am a sinner.' And asked pardon and did penance."
David "kept his smallness, with repentance, with prayer, with tears," the Pope explained, adding that in thinking about this dialogue between "the Lord and our smallness," we can wonder where lays "Christian faithfulness?"
"Christian fidelity, our fidelity, is simply to preserve our littleness, so that it can dialogue with the Lord," he reflected, "preserve our littleness."
"For this reason, humility, gentleness, meekness, are so important in the life of the Christian because it is a custody of smallness that the Lord likes to look at. And it will always be a dialogue between our littleness and the greatness of the Lord."
Bringing his homily to a close, Pope Francis prayed through the intercession of Saint David, and "also through the intercession of the Virgin Mary who sang joyfully to God, because she had guarded her humility," that "the Lord gives us the grace to guard our littleness in front of Him."
As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators. Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise.
-Catechism of the Catholic Church 2229
Some Thoughts :
- I grew a beard thinking it would say "Distinguished Gentleman." Instead, turns out it says, "Senior Discount, Please!"
-I just found out I'm colorblind. The diagnosis came completely out of the purple.
- I bet you I could stop gambling.
-Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn’t much, but the reception was excellent.
-668 – The neighbor of the beast.
-It’s bad luck to be superstitious.
Rare Phone Call - My mother, a master of guilt trips, showed me a photo of herself waiting by a phone that never rings. "Mom, I call all the time," I said. "If you had voicemail, you’d know." Soon after, my brother installed it for her.
When I called the next time, I got her message: "If you are a salesperson, press one. If you’re a friend, press two. If you’re my daughter who never calls, press 911 because the shock will probably give me a heart attack."Aged To PerfectionThe average age of people living in our military retirement community is 85. Recently, a neighbor turned 100, and a big birthday party was thrown. Even his son turned up. “How old are you?” a tenant asked. “I’m 81 years old,” he answered. The tenant shook her head. “They sure grow up fast, don’t they?”
One Sunday morning, a priest wakes up and decides to go golfing. He calls the retired priest and says that he feels very sick, and won't be able to go to offer the Mass.
Way up in heaven, Saint Peter sees all this and asks God, ''Are you really going to let him get away with this?''
''I'll take care of it,'' says God.
The priest drives about five to six hours away, so he doesn't bump into anyone he knows. The golf course is empty when he gets there. So he takes his first swing, drives the ball 495 yards away and gets a hole in one.
Saint Peter watches in disbelief and asks, '' Why did you let him do that?''
To this God says, ''Who's he going to tell?''
10 Things You Never Hear in Church
1. Hey! It's my turn to sit in the front pew!
2. I was so enthralled, I never noticed your sermon went 25 minutes over time.
3. Personally I find witnessing to the Gospel much more enjoyable than golf.
4. I've decided to give our church the $500 a month I used to send to TV evangelists.
5. I volunteer to be the permanent teacher for the Junior High Sunday School class.
6. Forget the denominational minimum salary. Let's pay our pastor so he can live like we do.
7. I love it when we sing hymns I've never heard before!
8. Since we're all here, let's start the service early.
9. Pastor, we'd like to send you to this Bible seminar in the Bahamas.
10. Nothing inspires me and strengthens my commitment like our annual stewardship campaign!
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - January 26th, 2020
The First Reading- Isaiah 8:23-9:3
First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the end he has glorified the seaward road, the land west of the Jordan, the District of the Gentiles. Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness: for there is no gloom where but now there was distress. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, as they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as people make merry when dividing spoils. For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, and the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
Today’s liturgy gives us a lesson in ancient Israelite geography and history. Isaiah’s prophecy in today’s First Reading is quoted by Matthew in today’s Gospel. Both intend to recall the apparent fall of the everlasting kingdom promised to David (see 2 Samuel 7:12–13; Psalm 89; 132:11–12). Eight centuries before Christ, that part of the kingdom where the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali lived was attacked by the Assyrians, and the tribes were hauled off into captivity (see 2 Kings 15:29; 1 Chronicles 5:26). It marked the beginning of the kingdom’s end. It finally crumbled in the sixth century BC, when Jerusalem was seized by Babylon and the remaining tribes were driven into exile (see 2 Kings 24:14). Isaiah prophesied that Zebulun and Naphtali, the lands first to be degraded, would be the first to see the light of God’s salvation.
Adults - Are you familiar with the geography of biblical times? Take a look at the map section of your bible and become familiar with the location of some of the places you read about.
Teens -Read the readings today, paying attention to the footnotes in your bible to glean some information about the history of Israel, which is also our history.
Kids - How do we show others the light of God’s salvation?
Responsorial- Psalm 27: 1, 4, 13-14
R.The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
-Because of Christ we are able now, as we sing in today’s Psalm, to dwell in the house of the Lord, to worship Him in the land of the living.
Do you take the time to discern God’s will for the choices in your life? What are some of the methods you use to do this?
The Second Reading- 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17
I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose. For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters, by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you. I mean that each of you is saying, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.
-How can we promote Christan unity?
The Holy Gospel according to Matthew 4:12-23
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen. From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.
Reflection - Jesus today fulfills that prophecy—announcing the restoration of David’s kingdom at precisely the spot where the kingdom began to fall. His Gospel of the Kingdom includes not only the twelve tribes of Israel but all the nations—symbolized by the “Galilee of the Nations.” Calling His first disciples, two fishermen on the Sea of Galilee, He appoints them to be “fishers of men”—gathering people from the ends of the earth. They are to preach the Gospel, Paul says in today’s Epistle, to unite all peoples in the same mind and in the same purpose—in a worldwide kingdom of God. By their preaching, Isaiah’s promise has been delivered. A world in darkness has seen the light. The yoke of slavery and sin, borne by humanity since time began, has been smashed.
Adults - How are you called to be a fisher of men? How can you carry out this call?
Teens - What are subtle ways you can “preach” the Gospel in everyday life?
Kids - What is a prophecy?
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! - God’s initiative with regard to men permits them to have a renewed relationship with reality. In God’s light everything assumes a new significance, its authentic and definitive meaning. A light which illuminates gives strength and permits the disclosure of the universe and man. This is why, after saying, ‘on those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone’ (Is 9:1), the text adds, ‘you have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing’ (Is 9:2). A joy and happiness that became real in Jesus’ presence. He is the promised light that has come into our midst, His physical presence that expresses the definitive arrival of the Light. The light that shines brightly marks God’s initiative performing His first merciful and free step towards a wounded humanity. This dynamic is expressed through Jesus call of the first Apostles. He chooses them with an unequivocal call, ‘Follow Me’. Faced with God’s sudden interruption in their lives He invited them to abandon the nets and trust themselves totally to the Lord for a new ‘catch’, a new definitive horizon. At the Last Supper, the end of His earthly life, Jesus reminds His disciples ‘you did not choose me, no, I chose you’ (Jn 15:16). This Sunday’s Gospel invites us to remember that our personal vocation is founded on God’s original and absolutely free choice. His invitation towards us, therefore, is an invitation to make a final decision to let Him conquer or re-conquer us to mark a turning point in our lives. Let us ask the Lord, for us and the whole Church, for the gift of a true conversion of our hearts enabling us to receive Christ as the only Light to follow. Christ is the only one that really dispels the darkness within and around us.