Staying Connected

Dear Friends,

I want to stay connected with you and commend your eternal connection with each other even while our world requires us to remain at a distance.  I encourage you to seek Spiritual Communion through prayer which can be facilitated by watching the Mass via “live streaming.” I strongly recommend daily Mass from Bishop Barron’s Chapel sponsored by his Word on Fire Ministries.

I have also posted the “Mass on the World,” first prayed by Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. when he was Chaplain for the French army during World War I. 

Here is a bit of what you would have heard me preach this Sunday if we were able to gather:

Today we witness the recreation of the world.  We know, in faith, that each one of us has become a new creation in Christ.  One consolation from today’s Gospel story is that the whole world, with us, is being recreated; Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, the one through whom everything has been created, is making all things new.  When Jesus reaches down into the clay of the earth (cf Gn. 2:7), mixes it with his own saliva, his divine DNA, and places it in the eyes of the “Man Born Blind,” there can be no mistaking the very act of creation…the first moment of God’s love being expressed in the universe.  From that moment flows an abundance of God’s grace and mercy in all of creation. The first time, we wandered off course; this time, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we claim our victory over sin and death. We join the Man Born Blind who can now see clearly and deeply; we say “I am.”  That phrase is not an accident. Because of God’s desire for intimacy with you; because God so loved the world; because Jesus freely offered his life on the cross, reconciling all things in Christ, our lips speak the name of God. In this moment of creation, this moment which conquers sin and death, once and for all, we participate in the Divine Life, we share intimately the very life of Christ in the world.

John’s Gospel once again gives us an insider view; we recognize that Jesus is calling the Man Born Blind to be an Apostle; he, like the Woman at the Well, is “sent” to be washed clean in the waters of baptism and then to announce the presence of the Messiah.  He is free from blindness, from sin and from death. And so are we. We can laugh at the pharisees, and even the disciples, who are revealed as the ones truly unable to see, unable to recognize the love of God being poured out in Christ Jesus.  

Our eternal life began in the heart of God; we were placed in the Garden of Eden and we will spend our eternal life in the Heavenly Jerusalem (Rv. 21).  Our life in this world is the journey from one Sacred Garden to another; this journey passes through the Garden at the foot of the cross and near the empty tomb and this journey promises to bring us home back to the very heart of God; this is what it means to fashioned in the very image and likeness of God.  While this world is fraught with suffering, with love, with grief, with joy, with struggle, with courage and with sin, all of it is gathered up in Christ’s victory over sin and death. In the face of untold and yet unknown suffering let us claim our victory in Christ. And while we fast from the Eucharist let us allow God’s love, God’s grace and God’s mercy to become a wellspring of life-giving water within us; let us announce to the world what we have seen: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

A Few Words From Father Mitch

Dear Friends,

This is the second day without Eucharist; and somehow this feels more empty than Good Friday.  I want to trust God’s plan for us, yet it is so difficult to move in the in-between places. Today, more than ever, we are like the first disciples on the journey with Jesus.  When he talked of his suffering which would be life for the world, his disciples had no way to process what they were hearing; it was altogether too new. We are like Mary realizing that what Simeon prophesied is indeed coming true: “a sword shall pierce your heart.”  All we can do is surrender ourselves to the Sacred of Heart of Christ and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, trusting their love and mercy to flow within us and through us to all the world.

Moses began the first “quarantine” when he journeyed to the top the Mountain of God to confer with the Lord.  While he was alone in prayer all the people felt lost. They began to wonder if Moses would ever return; they began to doubt God’s power to save, so soon after it had been revealed to them in their freedom from slavery in Egypt; so soon after they had received Quail in the evenings and Manna in the mornings.  It is important for us to persevere in fasting and prayer during this Lenten Journey of 40 days, even if it means fasting from the Eucharist.

We will stay connected by phone, email and lift each other up in prayer.  Please stop by the Church to pray. Using the code to enter through the door by the adoration chapel you have 24/7 access to the adoration chapel and, once inside, to the church through the northwest glass door, nearest the adoration chapel.  I will be in church to hear confessions on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6:30-8:00 am.

I will also use the former gathering times of Friday evening and Sunday morning to process with the Blessed Sacrament through the neighborhoods of the parish.  Tuesday evening I walked the perimeter of the parish praying the Rosary. This Friday at 6:00 pm I will process for one hour up and down the streets just north of our church; beginning on Ridgewood to Taft, down Alfred to Delor, up Morganford, down Varrelmann, up Adkins and down Newport.  If you want to step out on your porch to join me in the praying of a decade of the Rosary as we pass by, please do. Or if you want to join in the procession, at a safe distance of six feet for a couple blocks, you are welcome to do so. On Sunday morning at 9:00 we will continue the procession.  God willing we will pass near every block of the parish before Easter.

As I walked the perimeter of the parish on Tuesday, the first day without Eucharist, I claimed it all as holy ground for Christ.  I imagined myself smearing the blood of Christ’s sacrifice, his redeeming blood, on every door post of the parish. While we wait for the Lord to reveal his new plan for us it is important for us not to become frightened and weary as the Isrealites did.  Our perseverance in faith will be a blessing for our community and for our world. We are John the Baptist announcing the presence of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. That is still very good news. God bless you.

Fr. Mitch