This Third Sunday of Ordinary Time begins a continuous reading of Mark's account of the Gospel. In "Cycle B" of the Lectionary, most of the gospel readings are taken from the Gospel according to Saint Mark. Mark wants his readers to understand the continuity between the end of John the Baptist's ministry and Jesus preaching the kingdom of God and calling poeple to repentance as John did, but John is talking about a kingdon that is coming. Jesus proclaims that the kingdom is here now. He shows this in his words and deeds. Jesus is the Good News. His many healings and his forgiveness of sins are signs of the kingdom of God that he announces in his teaching.
At the beginning of all of the Masses this weekend, we will be welcoming the new members of our community since last October through a special Litany of Welcome, "You Belong To Us." The litany reminds us that all of us are called to "Go" make disciples of all nations, building up the Kingdom by making the world a better place.
I am very proud to announce that on Sunday afternoon five inmates at the Lino Lakes Correctional Facility will receive the Sacraments of Christian Initiation by Bishop Andrew Cozzens. Four years ago five men from the parish responded to a need at the prison by providing a "Catholic Studies" program on Tuesday evenings and a Communion Service on Saturday mornings. As a result of our guys going in on a regular basis and presenting the faith in such a loving and nonjudgmental way it has grown and developed from an informal conversation about the faith to a formal study group; with now five stepping forward to complete their Christian Initiation. Let us pray for the out pouring of the Holy Spirit on Aaron, Eric, Fidel, Robyn and Randy through the Sacraments of Christian Initiation and let us pray in thanksgiving for Les Trombley, Bob Peterson, Marv Kiffmeyer, Paul Schaffhausen, Robert DeMarais and Tim Cleveland for responding to God's call. I go in about every six weeks for Mass on Sunday afternoon and a couple times a year for the Sacrament of Reconciliation on Tuesday evening during the Catholic Studies program and on-call as requested. If you are interested in prision ministry, please let me know.
Next weekend, Fr. Ken and I will celebrate the Sacrament of Anointing during all of our weekend Masses. If you or a loved one is physically or emotionally ill, anticipating or recovering from surgery, or need the special help of God's grace, you are among those eligible to receive the sacrament. If you wish to be anointed during Mass, please check-in at the Pastoral Care table in the Gathering Space to receive a name tag and instructions.