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December 5, 1997     The Message
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1997 The Message -- for Catholics of southwestern Indiana 9 ROBERT L. KINAST Catholic News Service Between seventh grade and eighth be nearly six feet tall and the fall. with the junior toward summer's end, father and I were Coming out of when the basketball coach explained that he had not to Rut me on the junior vat- Would enter the semi- year. I was more atnot making the team or at that the coach assumed I was ry. I had thought priesthood at times, but had about pursuing it. that night on I began seriously, and the I entered the sem- pictured that husky, basketball coach as the I often have thought L message to me as sur- tial in my life as aruacement was toMary. read of the angel's . in Luke's Gospel reminded of the way God I felt I needed experience to go with my of academic study in d to teach m Alabama. I didn't d Sponsoring: the eeply involved i'n the myself helping register to vote, vis- obtain social ser- .and publicly protesting what an Unwanted out- myself frequently prayed when eth (Luke identified with the. my own history of salvation ...... verses which proclaim that God has lifted up the lowly and filled the hungry with good things. My experienc e in Alabama was so powerful that I spent the next two summers in dif- ferent parts of the south and eventually affiliated with the Archdiocese of Atlanta. From my original desire to gain a little experience by teaching Bible school came a reorientation of my life. Seven months after I was ordained a priest, my father died. I felt deep sorrow and pain, for my father and I were very close. We had shared a quiet, intuitive bond that enabled us to lend each other support and understanding no matter what. As I worked through my grief over the following months, I discovered I had to rethink everything I believed about death and resurrec- tion, immortality and heav- en. The teachings to which I readily had given assent were put to the test by the experience of my father's death. Eventually I came to a more personal, and profound, appreciation of those beliefs -- because they were matched to my experience. In one sense, this causes me to feel much like the shepherds in the Nativity story (Luke 2:8-20). They heard the mes- sage of Jesus' birth from the angels but gave glory to God only when they expe- rienced what had been told them. On the journey of life, in each person's experience  illuminated by the word of God in Scripture  the meaning of the past and the hope of the future is revealed. Father Kinast is the director of the Center for Theological Reflection, Indian Rocks Beach, Fla. Point: CUstom in your home that helps to convey this feast day's from readers: re parish or in the city. We give each family member a gift. rerrtinded how blessed we are."  DeeDee Schmidt, Fort Worth, a family and take that opportunity to go through the That's a concrete way for us to connect with the story to disconnect from the commercialization that bombards Orleans, La. wreath which we light at dinner time. Ours is sus- provides the light for our meal together. Plus, we try our activities as a reminder that we're waiting for the light the World."  Theresa Luby, Arlington, Texas the commercialization of Christmas, we give each of remind them of the three gifts the Wise Men brought. asking and gives us all a better sense of @hat "-Jackie Maddy, Albia, Iowa Voice: asks: What would you cite as an important sign of hope for for possible publication, please write: Faith Alive! 3211 Fourth C, 20017-1100 ..... .  "Every time I read of the angel's announcement to Mary in Luke's Gospel (1:26-38), I am reminded of the ways God works in our lives," says Father Robert L. Kinast. He recalls how Luke's Gospel punctuated his own journey as a priest. -- CNS photo of Giovanni Francesco Barbieri painting, "Saint Luke Displaying a Painting of the Virgin" Welcome Continued from page 8 Jesus applies Isaiah's words to himself and his mission Jesus presents himself as "the anointed one," that is, the Christ or Messiah. Jesus was anointed to bring good news to the poor, liberty to cap- tives, sight to the blind and freedom to the oppressed. Who are the poor, the captives, the blind and the oppressed? In the Emmaus story, they are represented by the stranger the disciples met on their way. With the disciples of Emmaus, we invite the stranger into our home by bringing glad tidings to the poor, by proclaiming liberty to captives, sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed. ' " And what is the "year acceptable to the Lord" that Jesus referred to in the syna- gogue? It refers to a year of jubilee, when debts were forgiven in the biblical world. We turn often to these words as we reflect on Jesus Christ in preparation for the Jubilee of the Year 2000, especially when we ask in the Lord's Prayer, "For- give us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us" (Luke 11:4). Yes, the Gospel of Luke is my home. I hope you enjoyed your visit. Father LaVerdiere is a Scripture scholar and senior editor of Emmanuel magazine. Why did Pope John Paul II ask the Church's people to give special attention during 1997  as part of preparations for the coming Jubilee of the Yeara000: to Chapter 4 of Luke's Gospel? Because there "the theme of Christ's mis- sign of preaching the good news and the theme of the jubilee are interwoven" In Luke 4, Jesus delivers his inaugural homily in Nazareth's synagogue, say- ing: "The Spirit... anointed me... to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord." A year acceptable to the Lord? In his 1994 letter devoted to the upcoming jubilee, the pope said that "for the church, the jubilee is precisely" what a year favorable to the Lord is: a year for forgiving sins, reconciling divided parties and trying to create cenditiens ensuring that salvation's power may be shared  all. The pope emphasized that Church social teaching is rooted in Israel's "tradi- tion of the jubilee year." In the Old Testament, a jubilee year reminded people that justice consists in protecting the weak and in restoring equality am all And Jesus' words and deeds, the pope wrote, "represent the fulfillment of the whole tradition of jubilees in the Old Testament." David Gibson Editor, Faith Alive!