Sunday, January 01, 2023

Happy New Year

A Happy and Blessed New Year to you all!! We had a good number of people attending Mass on New Year’s Day. And what a surprise to learn people were waiting outside the church for the 6:00pm Mass to start. Since it was a major holiday, we decided not to have the 6:00 pm on New Year’s Day. But people showed up, over 100, and  I had just finished a long run on the treadmill, looking a bit like a wreck. The unplanned Mass was  quiet, contemplative and quite short. The people who came were filled with gratitude, even as the Mass started nearly 10 minutes late.

This Wednesday, January 4 , I will celebrate a Mass at 8:00 am in memory of Benedict XVI. His resignation nearly 10 years ago caused shockwaves throughout the Church. This act of absolute humility will be the beautiful legacy of Benedict, even more than his remarkable theological works. A special Mass will be celebrated this Thursday, January 5, 7:30pm at St. Joseph Church in Wilmette by Bishop Bartosic.

Today, January 2, is the Feast of two powerful saints of deep prayer: Saints Basil and Nazianzen. They lived in the fourth century and became close friends who nurtured  each other’s insights into the life of prayer rooted in Christ. Their friendship had no earmarks of envy or jealousy but one of wanting the other to shine. One of these Saints said that when a friend is admired, you share in the admiration. In other words, I share in the giftedness of my friend and my friend shares in mine.

Relationships, friendships and marriages experience tensions and serious conflicts when competition and jealousy enter the dynamics. Insecurities over another’s success, public recognition, disparities in income can cause a relationship to be fractured. If one is centered and rooted in a secure sense of identity and purpose, there is never a need to compare oneself with another. If a loved  one is more popular  or recognized, so be it; you share in their good fortune, even as you shine in ways not as known or obvious.