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January 20, 2019

On this Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, our scriptures are replete with references to the greatness of God and the delight God takes in his people.  The first reading from Isaiah reminds us that God takes such delight in us that we are given a new name, and it goes on to use the image of a marriage relationship saying: “ as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.”

Our second reading from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is the heart of the passage on the ways in which God gifts and blesses the community of believers.  “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.”

And our gospel narrates the account of Jesus attending the wedding in Cana of Galilee.  It is significant in that this is the first of the signs narrated in John’s gospel that serve to reveal to us who Jesus truly is… God made flesh among us.  We read: “Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.”  Importantly, not only does the evangelist invite us to consider who Jesus is, but he prompts us to consider who we are and how we choose to be in the world, precisely because of our relationship with God in Christ.

As many of you have already heard, this year we are celebrating our Diamond Jubilee as a community of believers here in Northridge.  Our Lady of Lourdes is 60 years old this year, and it is a significant moment in the life of our Catholic community.  In light of these readings, I can’t help but reflect on the babies who have been baptized, the elders who have been buried, the couples who have given themselves in marriage, the young people who have been confirmed and the men, women, and children who have received Eucharist here at Lourdes for the first time.  Many who sacrificed so much to build our community in those early days are no longer with us.  We owe them the gratitude of our memory, and can never take all they accomplished for granted.  The sacramental life of the Church is firmly grounded in the lived experience of God’s people here in Northridge.  Just as our forebears sacrificed to build the physical campus which we all enjoy today, so too they gave themselves to the commitment of building the faith-life of our community in our homes, in our schools and in our places of work.  As parents raised children with faith, a whole generation was gifted with education, insight, wisdom and a broad network of relationships to sustain them into their own lives, and their own responsibilities for the growth of God’s people into the future. When we consider all that God has done for us, I believe our only fitting response is one of gratitude and praise.

In a few short weeks, to mark this momentous milestone in the life of our community, we are planning to celebrate in an extraordinary way.  At 2:00 in the afternoon on Sunday, February 10th (Our Lady of Lourdes’ Feast Day is February 11), our entire community is preparing to celebrate together, with a single Eucharistic Liturgy.  Plans are underway to accommodate over 2,000 people at a single Mass on that day, followed by an opportunity to enjoy food and fellowship together.  Bishop Joseph Brennan will be our main celebrant on the day, accompanied by the priests of the parish and others who have served our community in the past.  Together we will gather “to proclaim God’s marvelous deeds” as we have experienced them in our 60 years of existence as the Catholic Community of Northridge, and we will offer our communal gratitude for the blessings and graces we have enjoyed as a community throughout this time.

Such an event as this requires a lot of planning and preparation, and a large number of our parish volunteers have been working quietly behind the scenes to pull it together.  Going forward we will be making those plans known so that we can all anticipate and plan accordingly.  Keep a close eye to the bulletin, watch for announcements in Church, and most importantly, plan on celebrating with our community on the afternoon of February 10th.

Tell his glory among the nations;among all peoples, his wondrous deeds. (Ps. 96)

 

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