Dear FGR Parents & Students,

From the very beginning of scripture – beginning with the fall – whenever God’s chosen people found themselves facing calamities, catastrophes, hardships, or trials it was always a catalyst for them to look inward rather than outward. Today we wake up to the disappointing and distressing news that life in the State of Michigan has been deemed disposable; that children have been deemed corruptible; that women have been deemed helpless.

It is easy for us to tend toward anger, rage, sadness, or fear. It is easy for us to want to blame everyone else for the outcome of this election. Rather than looking outward, however, the proper response is that of Moses, Aaron, David, Job, and the entire nation of Israel throughout salvation history. We know ourselves to be God’s chosen people by virtue of our baptisms and the proper response to the news of today is penance and repentance. The proper response today and tomorrow is to do penance not only for ourselves but also for those who either won’t do penance or do not know that they should do penance. “…if then my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Our prayers over the last 54 days are not for naught. Our prayers are and have been powerful as we have stormed heaven. They certainly have not been answered in the way we wanted but, perhaps our Father is tending to our hearts as we have drawn all the closer to Him. Perhaps this is the beginning of our realization of how far we have strayed from the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.

Today we celebrate the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the Mother Church of the Church and a reminder that Christ is the sure foundation. In today’s second reading, St. Paul tells us that the foundation has been laid but another is building upon it (1 Corinthians 3:10). It certainly seems so. But, “our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits of the heavens. Therefore, let us put on the armor of God” (Ephesians 6:12-13) that is penance and repentance. Let us pray for our brothers and sisters who do not know any better.

In the Gospel today Jesus says that the Temple can be destroyed and in three days he will raise it up again. This is a reminder for all of us, as Sr. Sarah Burdick constantly reminds me, that God always wins! As we move through our own thoughts, feelings, and desires today, tomorrow, and the weeks and months ahead I urge you to constantly relate them to the Lord, seek His face, and listen for His voice. Let our inward reflections and prayers, the works of our penances and repentance guide us into action by committing ourselves all the more to accompanying women and families in need and fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves.

God always wins!

Fr. Ryan Riley