Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hope Springs Up

This past Monday morning, Fr. DeRosa came back from his post at the doors of the school and reported that the kids were full of energy and enthusiasm at the beginning of their day. That is not the normal state of affairs for a Monday morning, I assure you. That afternoon, I was at the back steps, as usual, as they spilled out toward their homes and play and families. Once again, the energy level was very high. How can this be?

There is hope in the air, and we name it Spring. We are still shy of the beginning of solar spring, but almost two weeks into what they call “meteorological spring,” and suddenly everything looks a little better. The kids sure know it. I sure feel it. Even Fr DeRosa is in a better mood – as if that could have been possible.

Even as the birds return and the moist mornings promise growth, the piles of snow ringing our parking lot diminish, but not yet disappear. They make a suitable reminder to me to thank all of you who contributed last week to the second collection to help with snow removal. We received just under $10,000, an encouraging help toward our total expenditure this winter of over $51,000.

A number of you gave, some even earlier than that, noting our need, and responding in generosity and stewardship. Thank you all so much! Be assured that if you have not yet had the chance or the wherewithal to help with this unusual parish expense, we will happily receive your participatory gift whenever you are ready and able.

Monday evening we were privileged to have Bishop Leonard Olivier here to bring our young people the Sacrament of Confirmation, and seal them with the Holy Spirit just as life is beginning to get really complicated for them. Wisdom and fortitude in abundance is what He gives them, and strength for the fight. May they use the light of the Holy Spirit to know what to fight for, and what to fight against!

You and I need to dip into that Spirited gift of strength for the fight as well, to fight against sin in our lives and around us. This weekend marks the halfway point of Lent. If you have not already done so, Get Thee to the Confessional!

While we may be fairly sure that we are Not THAT Bad, our sins grow and gain ground unless we are actively engaged in pushing them back, which we can do only with the grace of God and His mercy. A strong man heavily armed is safe in his possessions, says the Lord, but only until someone stronger comes along. Taking our weaknesses to the Sacrament of Penance is the way we make sure that our ally and defender against the Tempter, who is often stronger than we are, is the strongest One there is, the Son of God.

In the second half of Lent, we make this strength available even moreso than up to now, until finally in the last weeks of Lent it will be difficult to find a time when we are NOT hearing confessions. Every church in the Washington area (DC – MD – VA) will be offering Confession all Wednesday evenings from 6:30 – 8:00; and our penance service is a week from now, Sunday afternoon, 21 March, starting at 5:00. All of our NINE confessors will be available until at least 6:00, so if you can’t make it for the beginning, you can still make it.

There is hope in the air, and His name is Christ, the Mercy of God.
Monsignor Smith

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