1988 Dec 18 – 4th Sun Advent (Bulletin Letters)
Lk 1, 39 – 45
BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN AND BLESSED IS THE FRUIT OF YOUR WOMB.” LUKE 1/42
This week marks the fourth and last week of Advent, The sweeping biblical themes of unfulfilled hopes and dreams for Israel are about to come true, but in the most unlikely place and through the most unlikely people.
This years Advent readings focused on the city of Jerusalem. In the first week the prophet, Jeremiah, told us that God ‘s promise to restore and secure the city was soon to be fulfilled. The next week the prophets Baruch and Isaiah told us that the Way was being made clear to bring Israel back to Jerusalem to its full glory. Last week Zephaniah told us that the Lord was already in our midst. There is nothing to fear. The hour has come.
Along side Israel’s great hopes for the city of Jerusalem is the hope for a future King who will make all this possible. A king likened to David who will surpass all that David did. This King will rule the nations of the world from the new Jerusalem. This week’s text brings these high expectations and hopes into focus. In today’s first reading the prophet Micah tells us that the hoped for King and Messiah would not come from Jerusalem but instead from lowly Bethlehem, a backward rural village far away from the centers of power and influence. In today’s gospel from Luke we read of the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth, pregnant women carrying in their wombs the fulfillment of God’s promises and the hope for the world. From lowly Bethlehem and through two poor and humble women God chooses to bring his son into the world. Our Advent hopes and dreams are brought to fulfillment in the most unlikely place and through the most unlikely people. The lesson for the season: God is faithful to his promises and when God does act in human history it always comes as a surprise.
88 12 18
STILL LOCKED UP: Mike Palecek is still locked up in the Pottawattamie County Jail. Despite pleas from friends and a promise by Mike never to cross the line at SAC again, Federal District Judge Lyle Strom in a court hearing today ruled his hands are tied. According to the new sentencing guidelines, a Judge is unable to release a prisoner after he has been sentenced. The Judge did agree to have a psychologist visit Mike while he is imprisoned to help him deal with his situation. Many of us who are Mike’s friends are deeply concerned for Mike’s wellbeing. We hope his time in jail does not do long lasting harm to his spirit. I ask you to keep Mike and his family in your prayers.
THE FOURTH CANDLE: I visited Marge Peterson in the hospital this week. She continues to retain too much water in her body. The doctors are trying to solve her problem. When I asked her what we could be doing for her while she is in the hospital she asked that we light a candle for her and keep her in our prayers. This week’s fourth and last candle of our Advent wreath will be lit with a special intention for a speedy recovery for Marge. Keep her in your prayers.
DIOCESAN PRIESTS PEACE AND JUSTICE COMMITTEE & POINTS BEYOND
:I attended the meeting in Des Moines with the Executive Committee of the Priest Council with Bishop Bullock and the heads of Priests Council committees. This meeting plotted out the relationship between the committees and the Priests Council. The Priest Peace and Justice Committee will be
accountable to the Priests Council. The Committee is to help raise the consciousness of the priests to peace and justice concerns. It is not to be an independent group sponsoring & endorsing their own activities. We are to help bring the whole body of priests into touch with peace and Justice concerns. We are to take our lead from the directives of the Council. It was a good session and helped clarify expectations. I was disappointed in the narrow scope in which the committee is to operate. I was hoping the committee could have some independence to initiate and sponsor activities of our own. It was suggested at the meeting that a free association of priests could be formed to take a more independent and active mission. Picking up on this suggestion, Fr. Kevin Cameron and I met with staff people from the New Covenant Peace and Justice Center in Omaha about forming a priest peace and justice support group for Omaha area priests. We have set a meeting for January 18th at the New Covenant Peace and Justice Center to explore this idea. Both Kevin and I are very excited about the possibilities from this meeting. I will keep you posted about both groups; the Des Moines Diocesan Priests Peace and Justice Committee and the soon to be formed Priests Peace and Justice support group.