Our Lady of Victory Washington, DC

Walking with Jesus through Ordinary Time

We concluded the great Jubilee Year of Mercy on the feast of Christ the King, the 20th of November this year. But as our Holy Father, Pope Francis reminds us, “Now is not the time to forget about mercy…. In fact it should always be part of who we are.”

            So we begin a new church year with the season of Advent, the four weeks leading up to the celebration of Christmas. One of my favorite Advent “characters” are the Old Testament prophets –Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. We hear them often in the Advent scripture readings at Mass.  They remind us to hope in God’s promises. They remind us that we are blessed when we believe the Lord’s words to us, words promising peace, love and joy.

            I pray that during these weeks of Advent you journey with me and your fellow OLV parishioners to receive Jesus in Word, in Sacrament and in His people, on the great feast of the Incarnation. And Jesus is the light for our path on that journey.

 

                                                                                                Peace,

                                                           

                                                                                    Father Dave Fitz-Patrick 

 

Our Lady of Victory Parish, Washington, DC, 12-13 November 2016

Comments made at the end of Mass

         Never in my almost 38 years as a priest, have I spoken in public about the arena of politics. I firmly believe in the separation of Church and state, and I know that we jeopardize not only our first amendment rights, but I think our very soul when we try to make either church or state determine what the other adopts as its  philosophy.

         So there’s an elephant in the room I’d like to say a few words about, because already it’s causing a real mix of emotions –from fear, to anger, to dislike, and for others a sense of victory, of joy and of happiness. And even among OLV parishioners, as good as we are, I’ve experienced in the last 4/5 days a divide as deep as the divide in America that this week’s election shows.

         Two sources for what I say --both couched in the Gospel message “to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God;” as well as our Lord’s own words to “love one another."

         My 1st source is the editorial in this week’s America magazine. Fr Matt Malone, SJ, the editor, writes about the founders of the Jesuit order, Saints Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier & Peter Faber. After their personal conversions, they struggled with parts of the world they had previously probably enjoyed too much.  Like our Lord’s own disciples, none of those men started life as a saint, but they grew in holiness only after much struggle, only by the patient grace of God.  For folks like me & you, sinners who are called by God to serve, that is very reassuring. Because in the aftermath of an election like we’ve just had, it is worth remembering that even those who have fought on opposite sides of the fiercest battle can, with the aid of grace, come together and do great things for the common good.

           My second source is a cartoon from this week’s New Yorker magazine. It shows a mother and her daughter reading books in the living room. The husband/father has just walked in the front door & is hanging up his coat, when he notices a sign at the entry of the living room which reads, “No electioneering beyond this point.”  We all recognize our need for “sacred space,” whether it be here in Church or at home.  I mean it’s one thing to celebrate a victory, it’s another thing to not be sensitive to the hurt which others might feel at others celebrating. Some might call that being politically correct. As a Christian I call it humility, which Thomas Aquinas calls the greatest of all virtues.

         So I’d encourage you to pray with me for our newly elected officials –that they be effective in promoting the gospel values, spelled out most perfectly in the beatitudes… Blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, those hungering & thirsting for righteousness, the merciful, the clean of heart, peacemakers, those persecuted for the sake of righteousness. Rejoice & be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven!

Fr. Dave Fitz-Patrick   

 
 

 

 
     
     
   

 

 

 


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