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Jesus of Nazareth

A couple of weekends ago over 200 young men and women from our parish received the Sacrament of Confirmation from Bishop Robert Casey. During the Confirmation Retreat in December, I was speaking to the confirmation candidates, and during my talk I encouraged them to study at least one of the gospels as part of their preparation. As Catholics wanting to embrace their faith more fully, I insisted, they should come to know Jesus to whose image they should conform. Thinking about what I said, I realize that the suggestion is valid for all of us. We need to take the time to study the gospels and come to know Jesus personally.

We have entered into the season of Lent. I am always excited about this season because it gives me extra motivation to concentrate on my prayer life. During this time we are encouraged to do three things: prayer, penance and almsgiving. Sometimes we can get caught up with how much we do in these three areas that we can lose sight of why we do them. Our prayer, penance and charity should bring us closer to Christ. Then we have to ask ourselves: How can we draw closer to the Son of God if we do not know Him?

We need to learn much from St Jerome, a great saint, who taught us about Scripture in the fifth century. He translated the Bible into simple Latin and made God’s Word accessible to the Christians of his time. He dedicated his entire life to the study of Scripture and he knows what he is talking about. He said, “If, as the apostle Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, then he who is ignorant of the scriptures is also ignorant of the power of God and His wisdom: ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”

There was a time when Catholics were not only not encouraged but also discouraged from reading the Bible. Thank God that those sad times are gone! In the last few years Catholics are gradually becoming more and more familiar with the Bible and many are studying it in depth. In our parish we are fortunate to have continuing study on the various books of the Bible, thanks to the efforts of George and Suzanne Kirkland. Yet, there are many, probably even some here at St Paul’s, who are unfamiliar with the Word of God. As part of our Lenten observance, I would like to encourage all of us to delve into Sacred Scripture.

Every now and then you hear about great individuals who have set for themselves one hundred things to do before they die. They want to scale Mount Everest or learn to sky dive or hike in the North Pole. As Catholics, we all should have our own spiritual bucket lists. And on the top of that list we should have one task to be completed: to finish reading the Bible cover to cover at least once in our lifetime.

Just as I proposed to our Confirmation candidates, I am suggesting that we start with the gospels. Preferably start reading one of the synoptic gospels – Matthew, Mark or Luke. If you set aside just ten minutes a day, you will be able to finish reading one of the gospels in a month’s time. However, I would encourage you to read it prayerfully and slowly.

In this regard, I am offering a great opportunity to all those who would like to study the life of Jesus in a systematic fashion. Starting on Monday, March 4, (which is already past) I am holding six sessions on the life of Jesus. I will do the presentations in the Kinane Center in the morning at 9:30 am and in the evening at 7:30 pm. I will be using one of the best movies ever made on the life of Jesus in order to help us encounter the Jesus of the gospels. The Paulist Fathers in Rome produced a great script on the life of Jesus taking into account recent biblical scholarship and approached one of the best-known Italian directors, Franco Zeffirelli, to make a movie for Italian television. Entitled Jesus of Nazareth, the tele-film became a huge hit. Zeffirelli enlisted actors from around the world and each actor/actress spoke in his/her own native tongue. Over the following months, we will watch the seven-hour-movie in its entirety and analyze it in great detail.

During each session, we will watch the video for about 30 minutes and then study the gospel passages that form the background to the video. With the help of a study-aid, we will delve into the cinematography as well as into the theology of Jesus’ life. We will observe the nuances of the movie and gather insights into the heart and mind of Jesus. At the end, we will have time for questions and discussion.

You probably haven’t had the time or the opportunity to study the life of Our Lord. I would like to encourage all to come and be part of our sessions. Make the sessions you can. I am sure we will all grow richer in our understanding of the person of Jesus and develop a deeper personal relationship with Him.

Whether you can make the sessions or not, please pick up the Bible and encounter Jesus in the pages of the New Testament. We cannot love Him, if we do not know Him. We cannot follow Him, if we do not love Him.

Mission Statement: As children of God, living in a Catholic community of faith, we are united by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Aware that all we have is gift and grace from our Heavenly Father, we strive to give of our time, talent and treasure to build His kingdom on earth. We live this mission, challenged by the Word, nurtured by the Sacraments, and enlivened by the Spirit, to serve our brothers and sisters in peace, justice and dignity. All are welcome on this journey.

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Contact Information

St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068


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Phone: (847) 825-7605
Fax: (847) 825-5186

Mass Schedule

Sunday

7:30 a.m. - Upper Church
9 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
10:30 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
12 p.m. - Upper Church
5:30 p.m. - Upper Church

Monday - Friday

6:25 a.m. - Upper Church
8:30 a.m. - Upper Church

Saturday

8 a.m. - Upper Church
4:30 p.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel