From the Pastor’s Desk

5th Sunday of Easter

April 28, 2024

“You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you.”
-John 15:3-4

 

 

Brothers and Sisters,

As children, we often let our imaginations run wild, fantasizing about taming lions for cuddles, welcoming elephants into our homes, or even hosting live dinosaurs at school to be the talk of the town. However, in reality, adopting predators as pets is not only dangerous but also highly impractical. Similarly, in the early Church, the Pharisee Saul of Tarsus was considered dangerous as he actively sought to suppress the earliest followers of Jesus, even being complicit in the stoning of the first martyr, Stephen. Certainly, Saul was not someone deemed trustworthy. But then, a miraculous event occurred. Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus, a moment often depicted as Saul falling off his horse, although not explicitly mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles but popularized through the painter Caravaggio’s work of art, “Conversion of St. Paul.” This encounter with Jesus transformed Saul into one of the most successful evangelists, spreading the faith throughout the Roman Empire. While he did not formally receive a name change by God like Abram to Abraham or by Jesus with Simon to Peter, he became Paul, the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew Saul, because he took the faith to a wider world. He became open to change, not only in himself but an invitation to others to experience conversion, as he needed himself. This transformation is a testament to the power of Jesus to change hearts and lives.

The message of the Gospel urges us to stay connected to Jesus, even though our conversion may not be as drastic as St. Paul’s. Though “remaining” is a reasonable translation of this idea, some scholars prefer the English word “abide,” which is uncommon today. The idea is that we are called to actively abide with the Lord instead of passively remaining with Him. So, how are you living with the Lord? Are you allowing His graces to flow through you? This is the moment to shift your life and ensure that you are centered on the Lord.

With this in mind, next weekend, we will be celebrating the First Holy Communion ceremony with the children of our parish and their families during our masses. As they receive the Body and Blood of Christ with enthusiasm and wonder, may it reignite our passion for and discipline in remaining with the Lord through the Eucharist. Let us not take this privilege for granted but approach every Communion opportunity with praise and thanksgiving, just like these young girls and boys will do for the first time. May we approach every chance to receive Communion as if it is our first, last, and only time.

In the Lord,

Rev. Michael S. Triplett

Ways to serve and receive at OLPH:

BRIDGES TO HOUSING STABILITY – BEANS AND BAGS FUNDRAISER– Come out to Centennial Park on Sunday, May 5th, from 12:30 – 3 PM to support this fundraiser to help end homelessness in Howard County. To learn more, visit bit.ly/BB4B2024

ANNUAL MARITIME DAY MASS – You are invited to celebrate and pray for Seafarers, Families, First Responders, Company Personnel and Families and all affected by the Baltimore Harbor Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse on May 18, at 12:10 p.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Crypt Church), 400 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, DC. To RSVP and for more information, please contact Sr. Joanna Okereke, HHCJ, National Director at Jokereke@usccb.org or 202-541-3359.

SEEK THE CITY TO COME – After nearly two years of listening, study, prayer, and community weigh-in, the Seek the City to Come initiative has entered its proposal public comment phase. A recommended proposal was developed for the Catholic Church in Baltimore City to include investment and ministries, the realignment of parish communities designed to offer a strong sense of belonging for all, and the merging of parish campuses. All are invited to join the Open Public Comment Session on April 30, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Our Lady of Victory Church.