|Letter from Msgr. Judson M. Procyk to Parishioners|
May 1, 1982
John the Baptist was very different from the people of his time. Living on the threshold of society in the desert but not too far from the city, he dressed in camel's hair and ate locusts and wild honey. He pointed out to the crowds that Jesus was the lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. "I am a voice crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord" expressed his mission in life. John's preaching against the vices of his day caused him to be martyred for his convictions. Jesus said that this great herald was not a reed shaken by the wind but a steadfast man of faith who was more than a prophet.
It is because of these lines of the Baptist's life that are so similar to what the church ought to be and ought to do that John has become a figure or a model for the Church to pattern itself after. John the Baptist is our Patron Saint. Patterning ourselves after him, the People of God of Saint John's Cathedral have become people of faith in undertaking
the construction of our Center. Our Center is much more than a social gathering place. It is the beginning of a new era for us - a new commitment to Christ - a new direction of our lives and values. We are called to become what our Patron Saint, the Baptist, represented.
Like John the Baptist, the Church must stand on the threshold of society. It must never identify with it. Even though the church is in the world, it is not of it. The Church, and we are the Church, must dare like John to be different. Our values must not be the world's values; our ways must not be the world's ways. By being different, by setting ourselves
off from the world in values and behavior we allow the world to reconsider itself. We allow it to ask itself if it has the words of eternal life or if Jesus does. In this way, the world may come to realize that it is not self-sufficient, allknowing, and totally independent. This realization is the beginning of the question of the rich young man in the gospel story, "What must I do to gain eternal life?"
Like John the Church must give an answer to that question of the crowds. Following Christ to the Father brings one to eternal life. The Church then is a prophet, a herald. Like John it points out that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
We are the Church. We must pattern our lives after that of John the Baptist. We must live radically different from the way in which the world lives. Our attitudes, values, behavior and conversation must be Christ-like and not worldly. We must not be afraid to suffer because of faith. God forbid if we should deny it in the midst of the world's pressure. We act like John not because we are to hate the world, but because we are to love it. "God so loved the world that he sent his son so that those who believe in him may have life everlasting." (Jn 3:16) Christ sends us to herald him the way John did so that the world may have everlasting life. May our Center help us do this. Congratulations!
Msgr. Judson M. Procyk, Rector