This week – February 16, 2018
Blessings on you and your next steps for Lent!
This Week in Prayer
Stations of the Cross – Has it been a while since you have prayed the stations? Is it a prayer experience you haven’t yet tried? Check it out. Fridays in Lent – at 9:00 am and 7:30 pm – led by some of our kindest people.
Our “Little Black Books” (LBBs) Thanks to all who have mentioned that our parish-wide effort to pray the LBBs in Lent is worth the six minutes. The story of Sister Blandina and Billy the Kid grabbed me even more than did the story of Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ (about whom I’d already learned a good deal).
Working on a habit for Lent?. How is it going? If you are undertaking a good new habit for Lent, have you imagined what success will look like? And if you are trying to shake off a bad old habit, are you accepting help from people who might provide it?
Best blessing for those who are “Meeting Christ in Prayer.” This week’s passages are custom made for “applying the senses” and “composing the place.” And those three phrases from our talk time last week? Hypostatic union, high Christology, and low Christology. If reflection on the terms takes you to inspired places, reflect on them. If they give you a true headache, stay away!
Congratulations to all who made their First Reconciliations on Tuesday night. You were very well prepared and so many of you were all dressed up and looked great for church! Good for you.
Sunday’s Homily – “JCBFF Part One: He never gives up on us.”
Sunday’s bit from the Noah Story suggests that there was a time when our sin broke the proverbial camel’s back when we were so horrible that God gave up on us. But that suggestion is problematic. Because the story is in the bible, we regard it as inspired. But we also remember that our ancestors in the faith did not create the story. It comes to us from the people of Mesopotamia who wrote the “Gilgamesh Epic.” We borrowed heavily from non-Jewish sources and mixed it in with Jewish flourishes. Also, and more importantly, at the end of the story, God promises that he will never again give up on us. He will never again write us off or agree to destroy us. The rainbow is his signature on that agreement.
The very life of Christ tells us anew “God will never give up on you.” The Father sent the Son precisely because “He so loved the world.” He would not have sent the Son if He thought we were a lost cause. Christ’s words and actions remind us that He too has a never-ending commitment to us. In Sunday’s Gospel, when Jesus tells us to “Repent,” He is telling us that he believes in us. He trusts that we can do what is right. He believes we have what it takes. He knows that we can make better choices. If he had given up on us, he wouldn’t have wasted his time urging us to repent. He believes in you.
What makes you forget that? What evidence do the fallen angels wave in your face? What is their favorite way of persuading you that you are a lost cause? That God has given up on you? Do they get you to think over and over about your little sins? Your big ones? Do they remind you of the ways life is tough and say “See there, if God cared, you’d be better off. He no longer cares about you.” The vicious angels know how to work on us. They want us to think the rainbow applies to everyone but us. What is their favorite way of working on you? Of discouraging you to the point that you stop trying? Of reaching the conclusion – explicit or implicit – that God has given up on you.
Whatever their strategy, remember, when they troop out their lies, there is only one reply “Get behind me Satan.”
- Read last Sunday's readings
- Read the coming Sunday's readings
This Week in Community
Our fourth annual P.J. Anderson Concert is fast approaching. The concert is at 7:30 pm on Friday March 10. P.J.s music is a great blend of Nashville and gospel and makes for a great night of family prayer and entertainment. This year, P.J. will be joined by our own Mike DeLucia! (Our parish has three Mike DeLucia’s – the one at the concert will be the 50-something guy who entertained us so lavishly at the Parish Picnic in September.)
The Fish Fry is Friday March 23. And yes, the Irish Step Dancers will return! Mark your calendars.
This Week in Service
Come one Come all who are part of any parish ministry – to the Morning of Recollection for people in ALL PARISH MINISTRIES – on Saturday, March 3. The talk will focus on Christ’s seven Last Words, and how, in your ministry, you answer the invitations those words convey. The food will be excellent and it is a great time to connect with fellow ministry members. (PSSSSSST – The signup deadline was Tuesday and we are close to capacity but let me know if you want to come.)
The Parish Spring Cleaning is the morning of March 24. Mark your calendars.
BRAVO for our knitters. You knit a total of . . . . drum roll please . . . 123 scarves for us to provide to the Veterans Administration for distribution to veterans who need them. Fantastic work!
Pick up your bag from the Knights of Columbus and Columbiettes this weekend for our Feeding Hands Pantry collection.
The annual Lenten Rice Bowl Project is underway being hosted by the Delisi 7th grade confirmation class. Take a Rice Bowl Box and placemat and bring it to your dinner table. It’s a great opportunity to pray and fast as a family, and discuss the issues of hunger.
With special blessings for all who are amping up their prayer, service, and community-building this Lent. May God reward your extra efforts in prayer and in good habits with great consolations.