The first reading from Isaiah talks about the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali. These are the northern territories in the area of Galilee. They are also the home of two of the ten northern tribes of Israel. These ten tribes are also called the tribes of the Israelites. They were once conquered by the Assyrians and treated brutally after they rejected God by committing many sins. Isaiah is offering hope for release from this brutal captivity in this passage.
The Gospel reveals that Jesus settles in this area and for good reason. This was part of an extensive trade route. It also became very cosmopolitan. With this constant flux of different people, Jesus was able to preach to a variety of people about the Kingdom of God. In this Jesus fulfills the Scriptures by being a light to the nations. The Jews who lived in this region took a very liberal approach to Law. Many Jews even married the local gentiles. The Pharisees and Sadducees saw these “Jews” as religiously inferior and impure. This area was also under Roman occupation.
Jesus may have also moved to Zebulun and Naphtali for His own safety. John Baptist was arrested for the very message Jesus delivered: “Repent, the Kingdom of heaven is at hand!” But now, instead of God using a man to convey the message, God Himself directly picks up the cause. Jesus began His spiritual movement. Its membership is a pure gift from God, but it must be freely accepted by us. Only the humble and generous can accept this offer. It is refused by the pseudo-religious, those who are proud, arrogant and selfish.
Jesus begins his public ministry by calling His Apostles, Peter, Andrew, James and John. They are humble fishermen. They respond immediately and totally to Jesus. Their obedience to God causes their lives to radically change. Jesus calls them “fishers of men.” This title goes back to Jeremiah (16:16) where God sends many fishermen to catch the scattered people of God who have been dispersed because of their wicked deeds.
I am trying to put more order in the narthex so we can have meetings and classes there. One of the problems is arranging the food donations so that they do not block access to the kitchenette. In order to move the food around more efficiently it was suggested that I ask if anyone might have an old working Red Flyer wagon that is no longer being used. If you do, please call the rectory. We may need about three of them.
Please take note of the Station of the Cross in the narthex. Justin Johnson, who graduated from St. Veronica’s last year, is working on an Eagle Scout project to set up outdoor Stations of the Cross. He will have to raise about $2400 for materials and then organize many people to get it done. Next Sunday the Boy Scouts will be having a bake sale for this project. You can also make a donation to help him complete his project. It is my hope that we can have outdoor Stations that end up in the church for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
I am thinking of starting up another earmark collection for the church so we can finish the repair of the public address system ($22,000). I plan on using the same company (Monte Brothers) because they are the best. We got ten years out of the present system. Hopefully we can get another ten years with the new system. I would also like to fix the lighting up by the altar and possibly even the entire church. With the new technologies, we may also be able to reduce the electric bill. Our electricians are still looking for the right people to direct us. They are graciously volunteering their time and talent.
I am also looking to move the tabernacle where the ambo (pulpit) is and moving the ambo to the left-front side of the sanctuary (as you face it). The only issue is how to get the microphone wiring up to the ambo. I chose the left side for the ambo so that you will have a clear view of where the tabernacle is now. In place of the tabernacle, which has lights already directed on it, I would like to put a beautiful statue of the Blessed Mother embracing Blessed John Paul II (an anonymous donation). It will be nice to have this in place for the canonization in April.