St. John the Evangelist, Severna Park
Oct. 30, 2016
It is a special pleasure for return to visit St. John the Evangelist Parish to offer Holy Mass and to take part in the groundbreaking for the new parish activities center.
I take this moment to join with all of you in expressing our deepest gratitude to your pastor, Fr. Proffitt, Fr. Jim, Fr. Asigre and Msgr. Auer – and his whole team – for their devoted service and for ably leading your parish into a future full of hope!
St. John the Evangelist has a long and proud history of faith, worship, and service. You are a vibrant community of faith and I thank you for your fidelity, for your witness to the faith, and your spirit of service to those in need.
Dear friends, let us now turn to this Sunday’s Scripture readings so that we may draw from them the wisdom and strength we will need to live as the Lord’s disciples, indeed as ‘full-time’ Catholics in the week ahead, beginning with the Book of Wisdom, formerly attributed to King Solomon.
In fact, we do not really know who the author was, except that he was a Jew, who was influenced by Greek thought and wrote 1 or 2 centuries before Christ.
In today’s reading he gives us a sense of God as the architect of the universe who is so wise and powerful that he easily looks after all of creation – and indeed every detail in the universe he created and maintains.
“How could a thing remain,” the author asks, “unless you willed it or be preserved had it not been called forth by you?”
How do we fit into that universe?
Are we cogs in a machine or microchips in a cosmic computer? Not according to the Book of Wisdom whose author goes on to say: “But you spare all things because they are yours, O LORD and lover of souls, for your imperishable spirit is in all things.”
Let’s think about that: the architect of the universe is ‘a lover of souls’ – a lover of each soul, yours and mine, meaning that God does not love us superficially but deep down.Do we believe that God loves us in such a deep and personal way?
But there’s more! The Author of the Book of Wisdom tells us that God’s love contains a certain pedagogy, he tutors us, weans us away from the sins to which we are attached and leads us to what is good and life-giving.
Pope St. John Paul II once said that each person is ‘an unrepeatable reality’ – and how true it is that God concerns himself with the journey of each soul. Truly he is the lover of souls.
St. Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians is one of the oldest books of the New Testament, having been written, scholars say, around 54 or 55 AD. He was writing to a Christian community, a church, which he had founded in order to remind them how God, the lover of souls, was still at work in them. Let’s listen again to what he said: “We always pray for you, that our God will make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and effort of faith….”
Paul wants the Church at Thessaloniki to develop their sense of how Christ, through the Holy Spirit, works with us and within us, so that the faith we received on the day of our baptism might grow and develop.
Paul wants us to see that God’s love is powerful!