5th Sunday of Lent
From the Pastor’s Desk
March 26, 2023
“Untie him and let him go.”
Brothers and Sisters,
Which of Jesus’ miracles is the greatest? For some reason, human nature wants to rank everything from better to best. With that in mind, many of us would rate Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (dead for four days, mind you) at the top of a “Jesus’ Top 5 Miracles of All Time” list, if such a list even exists (let’s squash down the urge to Google it, shall we?). Still, when Jesus commanded Lazarus from his tomb, our Lord demonstrated his power over sin and death. Jesus wants us to shake off our old selves and ways of living that don’t reflect God’s plan. To that end, Jesus is waiting to forgive, instruct, and walk with us as we build a better way; God’s Kingdom. There is freedom when we follow Jesus’ command to lead others to His love and mercy. If we let Him, Jesus will untie all that binds us up and free us! Come and experience this gift, offered freely by Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and every time we gather for the Eucharist. Join us for the Lent Penance Service this Monday, March 27, at 7 pm in the Church, as a dozen priests will be with us to offer forgiveness.
As a parish, Archbishop Lori, in Light Brightly Visible 2.0, challenges us with his fifth pastoral priority, as does our OLPH discipleship pathway, to go Beyond (olphparish.org/the-path/). Both remind us that an invitation to do God’s work always follows any healing we experience from Jesus, His son. With this in mind, did you know the term “Mass” is derived from the “Latin word Missa?” At one time, the people were dismissed with the words ” Ite, missa est,” meaning “Go, you are sent. The word ” Missa” comes from the word ” missio,” the root of the English word “mission.” The liturgy does not simply come to an end. Those assembled are sent forth to bring the fruits of the Eucharist to the world.” [Source: USCCB] It is inspiring to see how the people of OLPH support the mission. These include (but are not an exhaustive list) the SALT, OLPH St. Vincent, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Daughters, and Legion of Mary ministries. Thank you to these groups for demonstrating how to rise from our tombs with Jesus’ help!
Over the past month, Deacon Roch and I have had the pleasure of interviewing OLPH’s confirmation candidates. Many related the importance of community and how they appreciated opportunities to strengthen friendships while prioritizing praying and serving others. They acknowledged the obstacles to sharing the faith and the complexity of confidently knowing the Lord’s will for their lives. It’s good to hear their retreat experience consistently scored as “better than expected,” despite having to take a break from their phones and regular teen activities, which no doubt opened them to a renewed awareness of God. Hearing firsthand from our candidates as they shared their experiences and transformations allowed me to appreciate the exceptional youth of our parish and that the Lord has undoubtedly nurtured and cultivated. I am also grateful to the legion of people supporting them, like the many sponsors, parents, grandparents, and family members serving as good examples. This Sunday, as Bishop Lewandowski confirms this fantastic group of young people, the Holy Spirit will pour forth unmeasurable graces and bestow the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Let’s ask God that that moment will rank for them as one of the greatest miracles of all time, which will bless our parish and the greater community.
Finally, I’m looking forward to seeing all of you gathered around the table next week at our parish Family Dinner Night on Saturday, April 1, in our Parish Center as we celebrate Palm Sunday together – see you there!