Reflection for the First Sunday of the Passiontide – 2014

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Sometimes I just
cry

When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”

Jesus wept’ at the death of His friend Lazarus. While the most cited passage in scripture of Jesus weeping, it wasn’t the only time He cried. Jesus wept over Jerusalem as He approached the city: “And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it.” Jesus wept in the garden as He prayed before His betrayal: And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zeb’edee, He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with Me.” When Jesus was dying on the cross He felt totally abandoned and alone. He cried out to His Father in deepest sadness: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

There are several interpretations concerning Jesus’ weeping.

Jesus’ tears demonstrate that He was indeed a true man, with real bodily functions (tears, sweat, blood). His emotions and reactions were very human. In His humanity Jesus wept for His friend Lazarus.

Jesus tears also demonstrate the sorrow, sympathy, and compassion He felt for all mankind. Jesus’ tears show the rage he felt against the tyranny of death over mankind.

Jesus’ tears at the graveside showed His sympathy and empathy for all who sorrowed over Lazarus’s death. He was one with them in their sorrow.

Jesus may have cried as well at the fact that those around Him, including Martha, Mary, His apostles and disciples, and the Jewish mourners remained blind to the reality of Jesus as the Messiah. He cried in spirit because even those who were closest to him failed to recognize Him as “the resurrection and the life.

We cry for many of the same reasons. We feel hopeless, abandoned, and sorrowful. We feel compassion and empathy for friends, family, co-workers, and others who are sad. We cry in rage over injustice. We feel hurt when we are not recognized. We cry mostly in regret over our failings and sin; the way we fall short of our commitment to the Gospel.

To cry is to pray. When we pray we cry out to God in both our need and our joy. Today we walk through our failings and face our sins with regret and sadness at having hurt God and others. We weep. Jesus sits with us and weeps with us in sympathy. He holds out His hand with the gift of forgiveness – to relieve our sadness so that our tears of regret are transformed to tears of joy at our renewal.

Special Note – Events and Times for Sunday, December 16th

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out – Acts 3:19

Next Sunday, December 16th, we observe the Third Sunday of Advent, the lighting of the Third Advent Candle. On this Sunday we traditionally add to our Advent preparations during Holy Mass with a special Advent Penitential Service.

Proper Advent preparation requires that we free ourselves of sin. This is our opportunity. In this special preparatory moment we are better able to examine our conscience and put forth our best effort to make things right with God and our neighbor. These special penitential services occur only twice a year – so it is vitally important that we attend, participate, and celebrate together.

Following Holy Mass we will take time to enjoy fellowship, our Youth Christmas presentation, and join in preparing all those wonderful meatless dishes we will share with each other at our Vigil Dinner starting at 11:30am.

To allow sufficient time for our Penitential Service, Holy Mass, our Youth Presentation, and our Vigil Dinner we will begin at 8:45am with the lighting of the Advent Wreath immediately followed by our Penitential Service, receipt of the Sacrament of Penance, and Holy Mass. We are pleased to have Fr. Rafał Dadiełło from Holy Spirit Parish in Little Falls join us to administer the Sacrament of Penance and to offer Holy Mass.

St. Paul reminds us: All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation2 Corinthians 5:18. God gave His Holy Church the power to loose us of our sins -– come and be made free once again in the love of God who has reconciled all things to Himself in Christ Jesus. Then free, join in celebrating the coming season with each other.

Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent

I can’t believe it!
I guess you didn’t not see it…

A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

If we read the caption above, we note the double negative: “didn’t not.” Writing this, my word-processing program kept pointing to my error.

Word-processing programs are a wonderful invention for someone like me who has terrible spelling skills. Either a red or green underline shows up. Red if the word appears to be misspelled, green if the grammar is incorrect.

Let’s think of John the Baptist as God’s word-processor. He went out to proclaim a wonderful gift, that people could renew their lives if they would only repent, make straight their ways. Salvation was theirs if they would take the steps to correct themselves.

Like my word-processing program, John pointed out serious errors, especially of the so-called “leaders” of the day. He put really big red underlines under all sinfulness.

His call to repentance was just like that of the word-processor. The error is obvious, its been pointed out. But now what? We have to recognize that red underline; we have to see it. Then, we have to take action to fix it. We have to correct the spelling and grammar of our lives, bringing them into alignment with God’s way.

Whenever we hear John’s cry “Prepare the way… make straight the paths… fill-in the valleys… make low the mountains and hills…make the winding roads straight… the rough ways smooth” we also begin to think like construction workers. We laugh, get me a bulldozer and a big crew and we can do it. Construction takes engineering, study, process, and hard work. John wasn’t talking about construction! He was shouting about the engineering, study, process, and hard work we have to do to make our lives right before God.

Let us be dedicated to making our lives straight, smooth, and level; getting rid of the red underlines, living lives based on God’s desires for us. Doing so, we have the guarantee of finding peace, renewal, and seeing His salvation.

The Jewish people were carried away to captivity and spent generations there. When they were freed they didn’t see it coming. We already know Jesus is returning. We do not need to foresee the moment for we know we must prepare. Prepare His way and be ready to rejoice. Stand ready to share in peace and great joy at His Salvation. Come Lord Jesus!