PASTORS PEN - MARCH 17th
What shall I say? I missed most of you. Snowed out again last weekend! Glad that none ventured out recklessly. No worry, the last of the snow for the Year! The order for Sunshine is given already, and it will arrive soon! Then, all can come to Church on weekends. I love to see you all; yes, every weekend! Don’t miss it!
The Rectory is going to be a busy place again. The diocese requests that Fr Thomas remains here till Easter for his initial training and preparation to undertake ministry in the diocese. Fr John Schultz who has undergone surgery will be also coming in soon. The Rectory will be another Rehab home for him. We shall provide him with tender loving care. Having these two holy men here around would be a blessing! Let us welcome them.
We continue to get a good taste of American cuisine through the delicious meals served to us. Thanks to the families! I truly appreciate the service of numerous volunteers- young and old, who make our community alive and active. Some elderly people continue to tell me how appreciative they are of the altar servers. Thanks to all the altar servers! I appreciate the parents who play a big role in all of this, as well. The involvement of the young under the tutelage of the elderly is a delightful sight! Oh, the Fish boil! Thanks again to the Fish boil volunteers on the past Friday!
Lent comes to tell us that holiness is possible for everyone. Are you growing in holiness? A life of devotion makes the care of the family peaceful, the love of husband and wife more sincere, the service of the public servants more loyal, and every sort of occupation by anyone more pleasant and more lovable. All of these stem from the recognition that God has loved us first and so dearly. It is this love that gives growth within us. No wonder, Lent is said to be the “Springtime” in the Church!
Here in the Parish, we keep Safe Haven Sunday this weekend. Together, we shall make our homes safe for children and for all of us by creating awareness of the harms of Pornography. The booklet, EQUIPPED is being made available to parents with children. It provides great parenting skills to address the issue of Pornography, in a very caring way. Moreover, I encourage everyone in the Parish to participate in a 7-day text challenge to make their home a safe haven. Please take a bulletin for the details.
The readings on the second Sunday of Lent invite us to look at the amazing things God does for us .The story of Abraham, described in the first reading, highlights God’s work in his life. Do we see what God does in our lives? Often we look for the dazzling moments and signs, but sometimes, the recognition of God’s amazing work in us comes through tears, pain and failure we experience. Our prayer could be: Lord, wake us from the spiritual slumber that keeps us hidden from you! Our journey through Lent continues on…!
Keep walking with the eyes set on Lord’s work in you!
DEACONS BENCH ~ MARCH 24th
Imagine that in September of 2001, on the Sunday following the attack on the World Trade Center, a preacher stood up in the pulpit and exclaimed,
“Those two thousand people who were killed when the Twin Towers fell on them-- do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lives in America? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”
How long do you think that preacher would keep his job? Insensitive! Judgmental! Where is your compassion?!? Yet, with a change of only three words, according to Saint Luke's Gospel, this was the very reaction of Jesus to the fall of a tower in Jerusalem, a disaster that took eighteen lives.
Perhaps Jesus is just trying to get his audience’s attention. And perhaps He is warning us not to be complacent about our salvation, that the alternative to eternal life is to “perish.”
Southern Catholic writer, Flannery O'Connor, in explaining why her fiction tended to contain so many outlandish and bizarre characters, wrote: “to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures.”
Are we hard of hearing? Are we almost blind? Are we self-satisfied, comfortably assuming that we’ve got nothing to worry about---that we’ve got this whole salvation thing in the bag? Do we need to be shaken out of our sense of entitlement? Does Jesus need to shout at us to get our attention?
The Christians in Corinth also were in danger of sliding into self-satisfaction and complacency, so Saint Paul reminds them about the Old Testament story of the Exodus from slavery in Egypt, a deliverance in which many Israelites were saved, while many others perished
because of their disobedience: “These things happened to them as an example,” Saint Paul soberly cautions them, “and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come.”
Lent, which after all, comes from the word for “Spring,” is the perfect time to wake ourselves up, to shake off our sleepy complacency. In our Christian walk, we can fall into two errors: one of complacency, passively assuming that living a tepid and undisciplined spiritual life is “good enough” to get into heaven. The opposite error is to fall into despair that we will never be “good enough” to get into heaven. Jesus addresses both of these errors throughout his ministry, continually warning all who would listen to turn away from sin and to believe in Him, in order to avoid the judgment to come. At the same time, Jesus reassures us all, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
So, let us not presume on our Heavenly Father’s forbearance, but earnestly strive to be faithful and loving disciples of Christ, trusting that God wants us to be saved, while keeping in mind Saint Paul’s warning to the Corinthians: “Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall!”