Saturday, April 09, 2011

Get on the Road

Here we are, one week before Palm Sunday, and it seems as if it would be too late to commit to any Lenten resolution or restraint. If you haven’t made it so far, why try to start now?

I would suggest quite the contrary, that now the graces to be had in joining Christ are greater than at any other time. He is walking toward Jerusalem, toward Calvary and His Passion, and He knows what it holds for him. He will not turn back, so attentive is He to the will of His Father.

If Jesus will not flinch in the face of that pain, how would he hold back from you any grace or help that you might ask at this stage? Jesus, who does not recoil before the torturers, will not pull back from any grace you ask, nor reject any offer from you to share suffering with Him. Renew your commitment, or even begin anew, and recall that this is the Lent that changes everything for you – as Christ Jesus sets about doing the work that will work that change in you.

In raising his friend from the dead, today Jesus reveals to the multitude that He is Lord over life and death. He knows that His Father always hears Him, and wants us to know that too, as he prays before crying, Lazarus, come out! This astounding miracle is but a foretaste of the wonder that will be His own resurrection from the dead.

I don’t want to assert that it is a miracle, but there is definitely prayer at work in our parish, which our Father always hears, and the power of Christ Himself. I received word today from the Cardinal on our commitment to his Appeal this year.
Despite the fact that things are so hard, and despite the fact that our goal was raised this year, 363 donors from Saint Bernadette pledged $135,505 to the Cardinal’s Appeal, very nearly our entire goal.

Less than three percent short of the total asked of us for the year, this is a sign that our parish recognizes the need around us and responds immediately. There will be calls and letters to all of our number who have not yet responded, and please do not hesitate to be generous, as circumstances always prevent some folks from fulfilling their pledges.

This is no miracle, but the actual work of love being done by those who know the Author of Love. Put this beside the Cardinal’s recent time here for Confirmation, and he has a strong impression of our parish as a place where Christ Jesus is worshipped in spirit and in truth, and His law of love is lived, by dedicated people. I thank you, and thank God for you, as I am certain he does as well.

We enter this weekend Passiontide, when Christ’s identity and location are obscured. His foes seek Him, but to kill Him. As he is stripped, beaten, murdered, and entombed, the very face of God in our midst is covered over. The glory of Heaven itself is darkened and hidden. So are our church’s images of Jesus and the saints of heaven veiled during this time of blindness. Let us keep walking toward the light!

Monsignor Smith

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