In the patriotic hymn “America The Beautiful”, the second verse concludes with “America, America, God mend thine every flaw; Confirm thy soul in self-control; Thy liberty in law”. Laws are always necessary in any society in order to preserve liberty. And a good society is always evaluating, amending, changing – or even removing – its laws as circumstances change in order to ensure that laws remain just. Of course, I’m talking about man’s laws. Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel that He has come, not to abolish the Law (God’s Law), but to fulfill it. If it is the case that human laws are good and necessary, insofar as they are just, then certainly God’s Law is good and necessary for us. Our Savior teaches us the goodness of God’s Law when it is lived in freedom, and not under compulsion. Perhaps it is easier to see this if we think of God’s love for us and of the love we are to have for God. Love, by its very nature, must be given freely. God invites us to love Him, and He shows His own love for us by the gift of His own Son. He also invites us in freedom to live according to his Law.
We returned on January 29 from our pilgrimage to the Holy Land. There were 23 of us (6 from SS Peter & Paul) who made the pilgrimage, and for all of us it was a most remarkable spiritual journey. I always schedule these pilgrimages at this time of the year so that the pilgrims can then experience more profoundly the upcoming Lenten and Easter seasons. I plan on giving a presentation on our Holy Land Pilgrimage during Lent (it will be posted in the upcoming Lenten calendar). I have also scheduled another pilgrimage to the Holy Land for January 23 - February 2, 2022. This will be my eighth pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and the sixth that I will lead with Fr. Kevin Louis. Most of the particular preparations will need to wait until January, 2021 (about a year before departure), so I do not yet have brochures (with full itinerary, registration info and costs). In the meantime: Mark your calendar!
May God bless you! Fr. Schaller