5th Sunday of Lent, Passiontide | 21 March 2021
“I am troubled now. Yet what should I say?
‘Father, save me from this hour’?
But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.
Father, glorify your name.”
– John 12:27
Brothers & Sisters,
I honestly have prayed that this pandemic would pass. I imagine that all of us have at some point during these past twelve months. Is this wrong? It’s a comfort to remember though he embraced the passion and took up the Cross, this does not mean Jesus had an inhuman desire to suffer. His ministry was a testament to a desire to heal and save. While we’d prefer for this hour to pass, and rest assured it is ok to pray for its end, let us use this opportunity to unite with Jesus and ask God what might he be asking us to learn or how might we respond to suffering during this difficult hour. Simply put, join me in asking, despite our current circumstances, “Lord, how may we glorify your name?”
As we cross the one-year threshold of this worldwide pandemic, I look back at the first few electronically distributed letters to the parish with a bit of nostalgia, wondering how foolish my words might seem in hindsight. With surprise, I was pleased that I didn’t make any silly predictions – those first letters focused on what we could control, like our parish preparations for Holy Week and Easter.
As we welcome Holy Week 2021 with anticipation, we still find ourselves with restrictions; and as such, I’m hesitant to make what might become foolish predictions. Thanks to God, we can gather with safety precautions in place and celebrate Mass together – whereas last Easter Triduum, the liturgies were only available through livestream. For those who have yet to return to our campus, though, please consider checking out the steps we consistently practice to keep each other safe. If you’re considering joining us for in-person worship, maybe attend a daily Mass first at 8:15 am from Monday to Saturday. With fewer people in attendance, this could be a manageable first step to return home to OLPH. With a heart for service and an eye for continuous improvement, I ask: What information could we provide that might make you and your family feel more comfortable or what further steps could we take to welcome your return joyfully? As you make the best decisions for your family at this time, would you consider joining us for our outdoor Mass (everyone remains masked while keeping a 6-foot physical distance)? I’m pleased to share this Easter Sunday, we are offering two outdoor Masses at 9 am, and 11 am. And yes, we are thrilled to continue to provide Mass via Livestream (streaming live at 9 am on Easter Sunday, as well as the liturgies of the Triduum) for our parishioners joining us remotely.
As relevant this year as last, I ask, how are you and your families prayerfully considering how to enter into Holy Week? Consider spending some time reading Scriptural accounts, perhaps from the Gospel of Mark (cf. Mark 14-15), which is proclaimed on Palm Sunday this year. Please spend some time reflecting on Jesus and the impact of his extraordinary sacrifice for us. If you’d rather listen to the Gospel, check out Truth and Life Dramatized Audio Bible on formed.org. Search under Audio, then Audio Dramas, to check out Mark’s Gospel, with the passion staring around the 1-hr:18-min mark. For those who have yet to try, listening to the Gospel is a fantastic supplement to prayer. Formed.org also has some great content, including videos, studies, and audiobooks for all ages on these most memorable days of Jesus’ life.
In one of the first letters I shared electronically to the parish as we started to navigate the pandemic, I encouraged everyone to consider the wisdom and guidance of St. Benedict shared in his well-known Rule for Monastic Life. Emphasized throughout this Rule is balance. A healthy rhythm life thrives on a thoughtful combination of prayer, study, work, rest, meals, and rest. As we continue to navigate our current times, let’s be patient with yourselves and others. Also, please know as Easter approaches, my prayer is that you will find the rest and re-creation that God desires for you – finding renewed energy and joy this Spring!
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Rev. Michael S. Triplett