Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 8:43 PM
All Masses and parish gatherings are cancelled until further notice. Blessed palms available at all 4 local churches on April 5
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Reflections

PALM SUNDAY, HOLY WEEK, April 5-11, 2020

“Christ Jesus, though He was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. 
Rather, He emptied Himself…He humbled Himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 
Because of this, God exalted Him…and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.”

This quote above is from the Second Reading, St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians. These words beautifully describe the process to which Jesus submitted Himself.  By this process, Jesus brought about our salvation and redemption.  And, in this way, Jesus carried out the loving plan of God the Father for us.  By this plan we are now all adopted children of God.  During these days to whom/to what must we submit?   

Today we begin this very special week:   HOLY WEEK!   The title of this week - Holy Week is enough for us to reflect on just by itself.  We are remembering all the events of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus: All the events that are done to ‘make us Holy.’ 

PALM SUNDAY is a ‘transition’ celebration.   Jesus’ joyful entry into Jerusalem changes quickly as we begin reading the Passion of Jesus.  We recall here why Jesus came to Jerusalem - to enter the process of His Passion. It is by His passion that He brings the grace and power of Holiness to each of us.  What is our Passion during this time?

HOLY THURSDAY:  Jesus gives us the Mass. The Mass makes the grace and power of Holiness available to each of us every time we celebrate the Eucharist.  We are recalling the Passion, the offering of Jesus to us, to make us Holy.  We are given that grace of Holiness each time we ‘celebrate’ the Life of Jesus made available to us in the Eucharist.  Might some of our Passion be the inability to receive Eucharist during this time of the COVID-19 virus?  …the inability to “connect” as parish family at the table of our Lord?

GOOD FRIDAY and HOLY SATURDAY make the events of this Holy Week real for us. It is impossible to contain all the Mystery of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus in one week, or in our one lifetime! But each year, hopefully, we discover a bit more of the Mystery of Jesus as we live it out in Holy Week.  As we journey through this time of mystery and unknowns, let us continue to rely upon our spiritual communion with one another and the graces given to us through the Holy Spirit and know that we do not walk alone.  May we truly “empty” ourselves of all the fears, anxieties, illnesses, etc. in our lives to be open and receptive to Jesus’ love for us to the point that he became human, died, and resurrected to new life with us!

 

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT, March 29, 2020
[Ezekiel 37: 12-14; Romans 8: 8-11; John 11: 3-7, 17, 20-27, 33-45]

“I trust in the Lord; my soul trusts in His word.”

In these days of the COVID-19 outbreak, it seems difficult to trust in the Lord wholeheartedly.  Some have implied that this outbreak is due to our evil ways and God “getting back at us” for making poor choices.  Yet the readings today remind us that no one is spared from death on this earth.  We all physically will journey through it.  We do not know the time nor the hour.  Perhaps that increases the importance of the choices we do make today. 

Some people are thinking only of themselves during this time of self-quarantine and stay in door policies that have been instituted by the medical professionals and encouraged by local governments.  These individuals seem to “know better” than the professionals who do this for a living.  We are not being asked to follow these policies for punishment, but for our own lives and the lives of those around us.  We are all in this effort to protect life together.

Jesus says, “I am the Resurrection and the life…whoever believes in me, even if they die, will never die.”  Do we believe this?  Do we believe in the life of eternity?  Do we really trust in the Lord and His word?  This fifth Sunday of Lent reminds us that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.  The reflection of this week might be the challenge to hear Jesus calling us from our tombs of darkness and difficulties to “Come Out!” and live the life of the resurrection in the here and now…to be for one another through time, treasure, and talent…as much as we are able at this time.

 

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT, March 22, 2020
[I Samuel 16:1, 6-7,10-13; Ephesians 5: 8-14; John 9: 1-41]

“Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil;
for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage.”

During these days of the COVID-19 Virus, the words taken from Ps 23 seem appropriate.  These are dark times in a world of fear and anxiety for many.  Jesus, our good shepherd, says I am with you during these trials.  This journey truly is a test of faith.

We hear in the reading from Samuel that humans judge by appearances, but God looks into the heart.  God knows we are feeling many emotions during this virus outbreak.  God knows what our future holds and where our journey is going.  We need to trust that Christ truly is the light – the one who helps the blind to see in times of darkness. 

Together, let us “live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.”  May we pray for and help each other in our times of weakness and draw strength from our faith in Jesus, the good shepherd.

 

THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT, March 15, 2020
[Exodus 17: 3-7; Romans 5: 1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-15, 19-26, 39, 40-42]

“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

Just what could God have been thinking to miraculously free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt only to let Moses lead them into the desert to die of thirst!!??  “Is the Lord in our midst or not?”  Even after the Lord provides water out of a ROCK, of all things, the people still miss the miracle of water and that the Lord truly IS in their midst!  When we are thirsting and in need, do we miss the Lord’s miraculous presence in our own lives?  It sometimes feels better/is easier to grumble about what else we DON’T HAVE instead of what God HAS provided in our lives.  “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

In the Gospel today, we hear of the Samaritan woman and Jesus at the well.  There is one quote from this reading that is very appropriate for this Lenten season.  The townspeople tell the woman: “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know this is truly the savior of the world.”  What do we hear God calling us to in this day?  Through our Baptism and life-giving water, God has called us to be priest, prophet and king; to be evangelizers and witnesses to others through our gift of faith.  “Lord, give me living water, that I may never thirst again.”  May I bring true life to others, eventually bringing them to the waters of baptism.  “Lord, you are truly the Savior of the world; give me the living water that I may never thirst again.”

 

SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT, March 8, 2020
[Genesis 12: 1-4; II Timothy 1: 8-10; Matthew 17: 1-9]

“Abram went as the Lord directed him.”

In the First Reading, Abram is being asked by the Lord to leave his ties of origin behind him.  No questions asked.  Are we able to leave at a moment’s notice our family attachments, bonds, social status, inheritance, etc. and trust that God has a larger plan for us to begin anew?  What Faith!!   Psalm 33 tells us “Upright is the word of the Lord, and all His works are trustworthy.”  But still…are we ready to totally “Let Go and Let God”? 

We hear in the Second Reading that God has called us to a life of holiness.  It does not, however, come without its hardships.  Our salvation is not because of any profound works of ours, but because of the grace God has bestowed upon us. 

Abram was called out of his family of origin because God had a plan for him.  Peter, James, and John were chosen to witness the transfiguration of Jesus and to eventually share His Gospel message with others.  Today, Jesus invites us to look to Him for guidance and inspiration in our lives.  This Lenten Season is a time to reflect more deeply upon where Christ is directing us and to hear God the Father’s words spoken from the cloud, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.”  What do we hear?