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The following reflection is from parishioner and RCIA team member Peggy Durbin.
Please take a few minutes to watch the video The Veil Removed. This is a short film that reveals the coming together of heaven and earth at Mass, as seen by saints and mystics, revealed by scripture and in the catechism of the Catholic Church.
FAQ page: https://theveilremoved.wpengine.com/faq/
The second reading from the 3rd Sunday of Easter is a short one from 1 Peter 1:17-21, but
very meaningful. In the first sentence Peter says that God the Father judges us according to our
deeds. Then no further explanation. The Greek word for deeds is ergon which is usually translated
as work or works. It is almost a “throwaway sentence”; as if everyone already knows that we will
be judged “according to our works”. This agrees with Paul's teaching in Romans 2 that we will be
judged not only by our faith, but also according to our works-erga in Greek.
In the second part of Peter's letter he also gives us a fascinating ride into the imagery of exile.
The Greek expression for exile or sojourn is “paroikos”. Par meaning “next to or with” and
oikos meaning “house”. Literally, somebody dwelling beside, not inside, the house.
Daniel Keating writes in “Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture” that the English word
“parish” derives from paroika, as does parochial. We are Christian “sojourners and aliens” who
are far from our true house. Where is that? It is where God dwells! Our parish is a gathering of
exiles. Just as the Israelites were in exile and God delivered them through the blood of the
Passover Lamb to the promised land, so, too, will we be delivered to our promised land, heaven,
through Christ's ransom with the blood of the Unblemished Lamb on the cross.
Even though we are literally living outside of our parish during this health crisis, we are still
destined for heaven.
Anyone else in need of a little rest, time to regain your strength, and some CONSOLATION right now?
We have, just a few short days ago, celebrated RESURRECTION DAY, the amazing triumph of Jesus over the grave, the gift of ETERNAL LIFE. Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection are the pinnacle of our faith, and I want to be exploding with HOLY JOY. Holy joy over the incomprehensible LOVE that gave us His only begotten son, that we might have life and have it abundantly. Even still, I find I have one foot, or more of me, in the Upper Room with the apostles before Jesus appeared to them on that Easter Sunday. I have the privilege of history and time to know what God did for me, and yet..part of me is still...afraid. Maybe my fear is because of this pandemic and the unknowns, but yet, I think that maybe my fear is born of something that has been around much longer than this pandemic, my sin.
So, just like when I was a child and most afraid of the dark, or getting the can of corn from the fruit cellar in the scariest part of the basement, or one of my much bigger brothers thought I should play act like we were part of the WWF, I run to the one who will console me and keep me safe, my mother. But, my earthly mother has already gone to glory, so I have embraced our Blessed Mother as my mother now. I know that would please my earthly mother. I affectionately call Our Lady, Momma Mary.
I have been growing in my relationship with Momma Mary lately, kind of like a mostly responsible teenager who is growing into an adult friendship with their mother. I have been laying at her feet all the things I fear most...and waiting for her sage advice or just to be wrapped in the warmth of her mantle. She has not disappointed in caressing me and in gently and tenderly leading me to the truth that will dispel all my fears. Every kiss from her, every glance of love she shares, begs me to change my gaze.
She desires me not to gaze at the emptiness and loneliness of all my sin and decide that is who I am, but rather, she longs for me to gaze up and see her son, Jesus. She keeps telling me that every torturous moment of Good Friday was done for utter LOVE of me. His open arms, long to embrace all of me, no matter my sins and failings, and his thirst on the cross, is a thirst for my love and affection. Momma Mary and some beautiful saints she has introduced to me, like Faustina and Teresa of Calcutta, have led me into the penetrating eyes, the cleansing waters, and the life giving blood of my sweet Jesus; Jesus as Divine Mercy.
As we approach, this most beautiful Feast of Divine Mercy on Sunday, I know that Jesus wants me to get under the shower of His blood and water gushing forth and to let His Mercy drench every wound, every fear, every thought that says I am not worthy, with the balm of HIS LOVE. He wants to drench me in His Mercy so that I can lose my strong-willed grip on having control, so that I might relinquish it all to God’s beautiful will, constant goodness, and kept promises. He wants to wash me in his Mercy that says come and rest on my shoulder, let me remind you, Julie that you are MY beloved daughter, MY treasure, MY pearl of great price, MY one sheep that I left the 99 to find.
I beg you to read some of St. Faustina’s diary and/or to read some words from St. Teresa of Calcutta, to see how Jesus pursues you, loves you, longs to be in relationship with you, and desperately wants to hear you tell Him you love Him. I pray that you and I can then listen to Him as he tells us of His incredible love for us, every nook and cranny, and how he will always love us no matter what.
Oh my Jesus, I TRUST in You!
He has risen, Hallelujah! May your Easter season be one of renewal and many blessings!
As special as Easter Vigil is for us, oddly the absence of and the forced silence has allowed for new meaning to the Triduum through quiet reflection.
There is something to be said about simplicity; not being clouded by the pomp and circumstance this year, has enabled me to look at Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday in a new light after all of these years.
While we can't begin to understand His plan in action across this planet right now, we do know He is ever-present and watchful.
We sure miss you (luckily we have your videos to help get us by these days - any chance those will continue once you move north?)!!!
May His peace and love find you and your wonderful family, today and onward.