Friday, March 29, 2013

In a few weeks I will happily celebrate 30 years of priestly ordination. In 30 years I have been blessed to be invited into the hearts and souls of God's people, in moments of intense pain, deep grief, paralyzing puzzlement, and unbounded joy. I have seldom heard a more penetrating reflection on priesthood than that of Pope Francis at today's Chrism Mass in Rome. Reflecting on the flowing oil spoken of in Psalm 133, Pope Francis said, "A good priest can be recognized by the way his people are anointed. This is a clear test. When our people are anointed with the oil of gladness, it is obvious: for example, when they leave Mass looking as if they have heard good news. Our people like to hear the Gospel preached with “unction”, they like it when the Gospel we preach touches their daily lives, when it runs down like the oil of Aaron to the edges of reality, when it brings light to moments of extreme darkness, to the 'outskirts' where people of faith are most exposed to the onslaught of those who want to tear down their faith. People thank us because they feel that we have prayed over the realities of their everyday lives, their troubles, their joys, their burdens and their hopes. And when they feel that the fragrance of the Anointed One, of Christ, has come to them through us, they feel encouraged to entrust to us everything they want to bring before the Lord: 'Pray for me, Father, because I have this problem', 'Bless me', 'Pray for me' – these words are the sign that the anointing has flowed down to the edges of the robe, for it has turned into prayer. The prayers of the people of God. " I say, "Thank you, God, for the privilege and honor of being a priest of Jesus Christ."

March 28, 2013
Msgr. William J. King
This week reminds me of the power of words. The words we choose and how we use them gives power to our ideals and reveals our values. No choice of words is meaningless. Words can incite passion or grief, can win over hearts and minds, can hurt for life. As the US Supreme Court hears arguments over the constitutionality of California’s “Proposition 8” and the federal “Defense of Marriage Act” we see the power of words at work. Words and descriptors such as “for” and “against,” “anti” and “pro,” not to mention forceful words such as “rights” and “equality” all have great power. They also reveal much about the user of the words. Is there any commentator in the secular media who has not painted the argument before the court as one which “denies” same-sex couples the “right” to marry? Is there any commentator who has not referred to the two laws at bar as “anti” gay marriage? In fact, one commentator while portending to be impartial stated that the Defense of Marriage Act “was intended to single out gays and deny them marriage equality.” Words. Pay attention to how they are used to sway public opinion. They are powerful tools in an arsenal that can do as much damage as weapons of mass destruction. This week reminds me of the power of words. I wonder what words were used to sway the crowd to chant “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Words. They are not innocent. They are not harmless. Every revolution starts with words, every riot, every war. Words can lull us to sleep and rouse us to change a culture. This week, listen carefully to the words being placed in your ear, and pay attention to what they reveal about the author or speaker: through the careful choice of words, how does the speaker want to sway you? The chant of a crowd two millennia ago swayed a ruler to condemn to death a man he had declared innocent. “Crucify him!” Words are not meaningless.

March 26, 2013
Msgr. William J. King
Last evening Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish conlcuded our Lenten Vespers Series. During this Year of Faith, we focused on the theme of faith in the 21st century. Offering the reflection during our final Evening Prayer was The Hon. Kevin Hess, President Judge of Cumberland County Court. After noting his puzzlement as a judge that Jesus was convicted on a charge different from the one He had been arrested for, and in a trial that violated procedural norms, the judge reflected on the imperfect justice of our world. Bringing to mind the simple tasks presented by the prophet Micah (to do justice, love goodness, and walk humbly with God), the judge reflected on balancing justice and mercy. Last week, Dr. Ted Davis, Distinguished Professor of the History of Science at Messiah College, considered the topic of "Faith in an Age of Science." The earlier weeks saw Mr. John Cominsky, Principal of Saint Joseph Elementary School, reflect on how he sees faith in education, and students from Messiah College share how their perspective on faith has changed during college years. Dr. Robert Ives opened the series with a meditation on bringing a Biblically-based faith into one's own life. I guess we can say at the end of this series on faith that "there's more to faith than meets the eye!"

March 25, 2013
Msgr. William J. King

Saturday, March 23, 2013

I typically fly out of the Carlisle airport, and hop over to Cap City to stay current on flying in and out of a tower-controlled airport (just to keep my ears attuned to communicating with the controllers). Lancaster may also lose their tower, making HIA, Johnstown, or University Park the closest tower-controlled airports in PA. Cap City is a training center for US Army helicopters, and with the mix of helicopter traffic, light airplanes, some business jets, and traffic heading in and out of HIA very close by, the lack of a tower will make pilots have to stay on their game a lot more, carefully looking for other traffic. Cap City has about 33,000 operations (takeoffs and landings) annually, but that's not considered a busy airport. HIA has about double that amount, but it's still not a very busy airport. Harrisburg has a TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control facility) and the approach controllers will probably take over most of the work of keeping planes from bumping into each other around the airport. Just a little bump can ruin your whole day! There's a lot of lobbying going on with the FAA and federal legislators, so we haven't heard the last word on tower closures yet.

March 23, 2013
Msgr. William J. King
The prophet Hosea encouraged the people, "Let us know, let us strive to know, the Lord." The believer's job description may perhaps be summarized succinctly: "Learn to love what God does, and to do what God loves."

March 9, 2013
Msgr. William J. King

Friday, March 1, 2013

The kitchen is dark in the early morning, but soon it will be filled with volunteers preparing the FISH DINNER TONIGHT AT ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON PARISH. All are welcome -- bring some friends. 4:30 to 6:30 PM enjoy a fish dinner, then stay for STATIONS OF THE CROSS at 7 PM, THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS at 7:30, and CONFESSIONS at 8 PM. 310 Hertzler Road, Mechanicsburg PA 17055 (near Messiah Village).
...and while here for dinner, be sure to pick up a dozen of our delicious handmade chocolate Easter Eggs.
March 1, 2013
Msgr. William J. King