Good news – preparing the way of the Lord!



This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah foretold of a messenger who would cry out in the wilderness by proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The first chapter of Mark in the New Testament speaks about the arrest of John the Baptist and the ministry of Jesus in Galilee with the same message prophesized by Isaiah. This preaching tour is still happening today, but are we listening?

God gave us the Scriptures not just to inform or motivate us; more than anything, he wants us saved. The New Testament did not abolish the Old; rather, the New fulfilled the Old, and both are concerned with our salvation! “The Church has illuminated the unity of the divine plan in the two Testaments through typology, which discerns in God’s works of the Old Covenant prefigurations of what he accomplished in the fullness of time in the person of the incarnate Son” (CCC 128).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a wonderful resource for all things Catholic. From CCC 1994: “Justification is the most excellent work of God’s love made manifest in Christ Jesus and granted by the Holy Spirit. It is the opinion of St. Augustine that ‘the justification of the wicked is a greater work than the creation of heaven and earth,’ because ‘heaven and earth will pass away but the salvation and justification of the elect...will not pass away.’”

Our protection from a sinful life comes from the grace of God because grace is a participation in the life of God. The gift of sacramental graces infused by the Holy Spirit, through the ministry of the priesthood, sanctifies our soul and heals our sins. This free initiative from God demands a free response. How often during the past 10 months have you thought about the importance of sacramental grace in your life? What if the opportunity to receive the sacraments was not regularly available, and not because of a virus or social distancing, but because we had fewer priests to administer the sacraments? This blessing should never be taken for granted! We need to pray for vocations to the priesthood, religious life and strong marriages in the society we live in today!

Will the pews be filled when our concerns for COVID-19 are gone, and everyone has the chance to return to Holy Mass and the sacraments? I pray every baptized Catholic will return with gratitude and a better understanding of what we missed in our relationship with Christ during this time. Not just our physical presence in the pews, but spiritual awareness of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Father Mike Keucher, Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, issued an appeal for help in painting thousands of wooden peg dolls into priests with Roman collars. These will be passed out at parishes for vocation awareness. My finished masterpieces were sitting on the table when our grandsons came to visit. I explained the purpose of the project, and they thought each priest should be given one as a thank you, and a reminder of how special it is to be a priest. I was so touched by their sentiment that I allowed them to paint one for both of their parish priests. The resemblance was perfect, but the look on their faces as they presented the gift was precious. If every child grew up understanding how important a priest is to the life of the Church and the life of all families, there would be more priests and happier families! Prepare a way for the Lord! Believe in the good news! Amen!