Fr. Mike’s Communication for the Feb. 7, 2021

7 February 2021

Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?
Are not his days those of hirelings?
He is a slave who longs for the shade,
a hireling who waits for his wages.
So I have been assigned months of misery,
and troubled nights have been allotted to me.

-Job 7:1-3

Brothers and Sisters,

While we should remain open to the possibility that Job was an actual living person, his narrative found in the Old Testament’s objective is to meditate deeply on the mystery of suffering. Though Job’s existence might be a literary tool for biblical scholars, one thing is true: evil is real. For that reason, we should resist the urge to deny the existence of Satan and his minions of evil.  As was the case for Job, the goal of evil forces is for the faithful to abandon their trust in God. But let us not get the wrong impression of our Lord from the Book of Job either. Our Creator isn’t up for debate with Satan, giving him the agency to torment us to test our faith. Remember another truth: our God is compassionate. If we need to strengthen our confidence in this reality, we only have to look to Jesus. Christ came, aware humanity longed for a relationship with his perfect Father — our Lord. Jesus is the conduit so we can know God’s mercy and tenderness.

Powerful healing, mercy, and encouragement are ours for the taking in God’s sacred word because all who come to know Jesus and his teachings must change in light of his love.  Much like Job, who had to learn tragically the importance of putting aside his own will and expectations and fully embrace the Lord. The inevitable crosses of life make acceptance of God’s plan difficult. Many rejected it, unable to submit their own will. Take heart; it’s possible through Christ! When we decide to follow Jesus and listen to his promptings in prayer, our faith becomes strong, and our will bends to that of the Father. We are transformed, an absolute necessity of authentic discipleship.

Lent is just ten days away! Take some time and ask God to inspire and inform your prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that you (as individuals or as families) should embrace this Lent. Remember, it’s not how difficult or challenging your Lenten plan is, but choosing productive disciplines that expand our faith. Take discerning God’s will into your prayer life, whether large questions like your vocation to smaller ones like Lenten practices, share those questions with God – family, friends, small groups – to be sure your plan is God’s will and not your own.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.

St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.

Rev. Michael S. Triplett

Some of the key considerations for this week.

  • Reserve your seat for Mass on February 13-14, 2021, here
  • Lent is fast approaching. Our full offerings and schedule are forthcoming but a few glimpses:
  • Ash Wednesday is February 17. Our Mass schedule will include 6:30 am, 8:15 am, 5 pm, and 7 pm Masses. In lieu of the normal expectation of receiving a cross on our forehead, OLPH will follow the recommended practice of sprinkling a small amount of ash upon the top of the head (without physical content). This practice is consistent with other parts of the world. Reserve your seat for an Ash Wednesday Mass, here.
  • Bishop Bruce Lewandowski, the new Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore and Pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus in Baltimore, will lead our Parish Mission. He will preach the Masses on the 1st Sunday of Lent (February 20-21) and lead reflections on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, February 22-24 at 7 pm in the Church and Livestream. I encourage parishioners to put the Mission on their calendars now!
  • Night to Shine: this wonderful evening sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation will be hosted at OLPH on Friday, February 12, 2021 for our third time!  While a virtual event for our honored guests, our parish will host a “Shine Thru” experience where our Kings & Queens may arrive on campus to a cheering group of photographers and paparazzi all from the safety of their cars (even enjoying a fun dance party from their cars).  Before leaving guests will  pick up their flowers, crowns/tiaras, swag bag, caregiver gift, dinner and return home for the virtual event.  We are thankful to all our volunteers who have worked endless hours to help bring this beautiful night about and how we are to celebrate the dignity of all life!  Please keep in your prayers the kings and queens of the prom and all events of this evening!
  • As we celebrate Black History Month, the Archdiocese Office of Black Catholic Ministries has compiled this short bio of six Americans of African descent who are in the process of Canonization. Click here for the bios. This includes Baltimore’s own, Servant of God Mother Mary Lange, in addition to Venerable Pierre Toussaint, Venerable Henriette Delille, Venerable Fr. Augustus Tolton, Servant of God Julia Greeley, and Servant of God Sr. Thea Bowman. Learn more and celebrate these wonderful witnesses of our faith.
  • Each month, Pope Francis highlights in his prayer intentions important concerns in our world. This month of February, Pope Francis has encouraged prayer for women who experience violence. According to a 2013 study of the World Health Organization, 1 in 3 women experienced physical or sexual violence at some point. I encourage prayer and penance as we seek to build a full culture of life, where all are respected. At all levels, from international to our own homes, we cannot accept this abuse of power and the mistreatment of others.
  • The 2021 Annual Appeal for Catholic Ministries Joyful in Hope is underway. Thank you to our parish who did a wonderful job supporting the 2020 Appeal and the overwhelming completion of that commitment. The Archdiocese supports many wonderful ministries thanks to the generosity in this appeal. Our parish also receives a rebate, 25% of the Appeal to our goal and 50% of the Appeal after our goal has been raised. Our rebate supports the parish’s charity, as 40% will go toward Our Lady of the Nativity in Haiti, 40% to St. Veronica in Baltimore, 10% to our wonderful partner Christ Life, and 10% to Tuition Assistance at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Baltimore. Look for a letter from me with instructions to participate in the mail, go to the website here to learn more or make a gift, or wait for our in-pew Sunday and online giving opportunities. It would be a wonderful accomplishment if every parish family could make a gift or pledge this year. Thank you for the exceptional commitment this parish takes for the ministries of charity. 
  • Valentine’s Day, February 14, is fast upon us as well. I encourage creative ways to express your love with your spouses, parents, children, and loved ones. A kind note or a simple gesture can easily bring a smile. Please pray for all our married and engaged couples! At our Sunday Masses, we will offer a blessing for all couples.
  • Helping our youth and young adults hear God’s calling in their lives takes our whole parishes’ attention and commitment. Please continue to discuss the vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, consecrated religious, marriage, and many aspects of lay ministry with your children. As parents, pray for and with your children and assure them of your support in following God’s will.
  • The Archdiocese of Baltimore Vocation Office is offering Discernment in the Year of St. Joseph Retreat. This virtual retreat for men discerning a call to the priesthood begins on Friday, February 26 at 7 pm and concludes with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Lori on Sunday, February 28 at 10:30 am. The virtual retreat affords discerners access to great talks and interaction with our seminarians. Register here.