28 February 2021 – 2nd Sunday of Lent
“My little children, your hearts are small,
but prayer stretches them and makes them capable of loving God.
Through prayer, we receive a foretaste of heaven
and something of paradise comes down upon us.
Prayer never leaves us without sweetness.
It’s honey that flows into the souls and makes all things sweet.
When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun.
St. John Vianney, Catechetical Instructions
Brothers and Sisters,
My prayer is that each of you is fed and nourished. This hope goes beyond meeting a need for physical nourishment. I realize that food insecurity remains a profound cross for many right here in our community, and I’m inspired by our Parish’s many efforts to meet those needs. Yet my prayer goes deeper, to that of spiritual nourishment. That OLPH is a spiritual home, a place for Parishioners to BELONG to something bigger. A community where God’s grace, through the gift of the Eucharist and sacraments, along with prayer and a vibrant community of disciples, may be experienced, heal, and inspire us. Bishop Bruce Lewandowski offered us an immeasurable gift during our OLPH Parish Lenten Mission this past week, an opportunity to slow down. To focus on our spiritual sustenance, strengthening and better understanding our relationship with the Lord and with one another. For those who could not take advantage of Bishop Bruce’s dynamic preaching and wonderful voice (yes, he broke into beautiful songs throughout), please visit www.olphparish.org/parish-mission to discover or rediscover his teachings — just awesome!
Looking to another great pastor of souls, St. John Vianney, had an immense passion for serving his parishioners as well. This Saint did not delineate by a census or parish membership considering all in the town of Ars as his flock, where he was a selfless confessor, sleeping little to hear many a confession late into the night. His homilies and teachings emphasized the necessity for a relationship with the Lord. He, too, hoped and prayed for his Parishioners, dedicating his work to help them simplify their lives and make room for Christ, reconcile them to God, and bring them lasting joy.
I must admit that I would be afraid to see the sugar mound I’m sure I consume in a year! For me, it might be a large enough mound to rival Mount Tabor, where Jesus was likely transfigured before Peter, James, and John. Of course, the love of sugar in the U.S. has created a whole sugar alternatives industry. What little packet do you reach for, red, blue, or yellow? (This seems like a great place for an advertisement for OLPH’s local honey, to which I hope to see honeybees back to work soon, a promising sign of Spring, but I digress).
In life, we often look for an alternative to what is good, or better said, to the ONE who is goodness itself. The truth is, there is no substitute to the one true God; anything or one else will leave us dissatisfied and hungry. Only God satisfies. But if you are like me, why are we often hungry after time spent in prayer? If we have encountered the Lord, what more could we want, right? Are we somehow inadequate or doing something wrong?
As Peter, James, and John gazed upon Jesus transfigured in that spectacular moment, amid all of the emotions that he must have been experiencing, one took hold of Peter. An overwhelming desire to stay.
Peter’s desire to stay likely echoes our feelings of yearning, wanting to stay connected with our Creator. Yet, our encounters in prayer are not meant to be enough. We are meant to keep searching and growing, so we are truly ready for union with God when called. As we enter the second week of Lent, set aside some time to stay with the Lord, reflect upon the Jesus that draws near to us, revealing the love and mercy of God, and then ask him, “what’s next, Lord. Show me how I may grow.”
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Rev. Michael S. Triplett