25 October 2020
“Blessed are they who mourn
for they will be comforted.”
Solemnity of All Saints
1 November 2020
Blessings to you and your family!
I smile as I think of one of my seminarian professors while in Rome, Fr. Habets, whose class on the themes of the Old Testament was one of my favorites. I enjoyed the discussion-based structure of the class and that Fr. Habets taught in English, which I could fully understand as an American seminarian attending classes mostly offered in Italian. Fr. Habets encouraged us to bring in various translations of the Bible so, in turn, he could tell us to figuratively “toss it out the window.” Exaggerating, he would declare a particular translation was not worth the paper it was printed on. The conventional translation of the word “happy” caused Fr. Habets much consternation. As a result, he had no patience for the many adaptations that interchanged “happy” for “blessed.” The Greek word “makarios” offers a better contextual meaning in light of the Beatitudes. Scholars translate the word as “privileged, fortunate,” describing an individual who enjoys a special privilege, a desirable position that evokes happy feelings for an immeasurable reason. After all, the Beatitudes don’t promise happiness, and Jesus isn’t celebrating the benefits of personal wealth or lofty social strata.
Speaking in the future-tense, Christ is yet to promise the blessings of the Beatitudes to us. Nevertheless, in the Sermon on the Mount, He urges us to take comfort in our current reward as members of God’s kingdom. For this reason, amid the pandemic, the Beatitudes are the wisdom the world needs to hear! Yes, joy and suffering are not mutually exclusive. With humility, we may recognize our abundant blessings even in these times of great turmoil and strife. Amidst all the sickness and suffering, God is still very present, and He remains victorious! Though, admittedly, I have not quite mastered this poverty in spirit enough to clearly see His victory– I strive to do so through God’s grace and example.
If, like me, you also struggle too, take heart. Christ, the ever-generous teacher, offers us a template for living out the Beatitudes in our everyday lives.
Jesus emptied himself, despite his divinity: becoming “poor in spirit,” fully embracing the messiness of humanity.
Jesus wept, with authentic empathy at the death of his friend Lazarus and for anyone hurting physically or psychologically.
Jesus embraced his cross with meekness; rather than calling on the powers of heaven and earth, he accepted the will of his Father.
Jesus lived with righteousness and enabled others to walk on a path to the Lord.
Jesus is the face of mercy, remains clean of heart, and Prince of Peace. If we stay the course and follow Christ’s example, the promises of the Beatitudes and their immeasurable “makarios” will be our reward.
As we celebrate the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, my heart goes out to those who mourn and struggle to share memories of loved ones during our current health crisis. The parish is offering in-person funerals, but often family members who are physically vulnerable or who live out-of-state cannot be present. In these cases, isolation likely hinders the grieving process. As taught in the Beatitudes and repeated in the Works of Mercy, we are called to BELONG. So join me in prayer, so that those who grieve may feel the loving balm of Christ’s love through our prayers and support of them.
Starting Monday, November 2nd, our 8:15 am daily Mass will be open for in-person attendance from Monday to Saturday, yet we will continue to live stream Mass as well. We will offer Mass at 8:15 am and at 5 pm in the Church on All Souls’ Day. May the Lord of Life lift our hearts and minds in celebration of all that the Lord offers for our deceased loved ones!
Finally, the culmination of the election season is this Tuesday, November 3. I urge you to ask the Holy Spirit to guide our Nation and to inspire the elected candidate, despite personal support. Only “under God” are we truly able to be the United States. In his discussion on the importance of diversity in Fratelli Tutti, §144, Pope Francis refers to the Genesis account of the Tower of Babel,
The attempt to build a tower that would reach to heaven was not an expression of unity between various peoples speaking to one another from their diversity. Instead, it was a misguided attempt, born of pride and ambition, to create a unity other than that willed by God in his providential plan for the nation (cf. Gen 11:1-19).
May the One God, Father, Son, and Spirit, unite us in his plan for the Kingdom of God.
Some of the key considerations for this week.
- “Sign up” for Mass for November 7-8, register here. The Mass schedule is Saturday, 4:30 pm, Sunday 7:30 am, 9 am, 5 pm in the Church (with the LiveStream at 9 am then remaining available for access), and 11 am outside at the Harrison Hall Landing.
- Mother Mary Lange founded the Oblate Sisters of Providence in Baltimore, the first African-American religious congregation. Mother Lange, a Servant of God, was born in a Haitian community in Cuba and received a good education. When she settled in Baltimore, she began teaching a few children in the neighborhood and, with encouragement from the Sulpician Fathers at St. Mary’s Seminary, she began the order to educate the growing free-African-American population in 1829. Her impact and legacy on the Catholic Church in Baltimore, Maryland, and throughout the United States is profound. Let us call upon her intercession as we seek to promote the dignity and worth of all people, especially those who have been marginalized or discriminated against. On Monday, November 2, at 6 pm, Archbishop Lori will preside over a virtual Prayer and Praise in honor of the cause for the canonization of Mother Mary Lange, O.S.P. Connect at archbalt.org/cchm.
- Let us celebrate with our Knights of Columbus the Beatification of Bl. Fr. Michael McGivney, who founded the Knights with the aim of strengthening families and parishes. The Beatification took place on Saturday, October 31 in Hartford, Connecticut. Fr. McGivney died of pneumonia while ministering to his parishioners during a pandemic in 1890. Please call upon his intercession for our world in these troubling times, that the Lord’s grace may strengthen our families. To celebrate this joyous occasion, St. Mary’s Seminary is hosting a series of online lectures about Fr. Michael McGivney, who attended the seminary in Baltimore. The first seminar, “Who Was Michael McGivney and What Does He Have to Say to Us Today?,” will occur on Thursday, November 12 at 7 pm. The seminar will include a panel composed of Archbishop Lori, the Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, Carl Anderson, the Supreme Knight, and the Sulpician Father Phillip Brown, president-record of St. Mary’s. Register for the panel here.
- Next weekend, November 7-8, our St. Vincent de Paul Society is sponsoring the annual Family Helping Families Thanksgiving Program. Empty boxes will be available in the Narthex of the Church and at our 11 am outdoor Mass that weekend. You may return the filled boxes the following weekend, November 14-15. Thank you for your generosity and help in providing a good meal for families to share this Thanksgiving.
- Ablaze Family Ministries is hosting a webinar Tell Your Story: Accepting Jesus’ Invitation. All Catholics are called to bear witness to our faith. The Lord often calls us to use our experiences to invite others into a relationship with the Lord and to share in his love. Visit here to register for the webinar on Monday, November 9 at 11 am or to learn more about this ministry.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
All Holy Men and Women, Saints of God, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
In the Lord,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett