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How Do I?

Fr. Tom’s Letters

 

Each week Fr. Tom writes a letter to parishioners in our bulletin.  Every letter is comprehensive, including current information about the Parish, an explanation of Scripture for that Sunday, and an invitation to become more engaged in the life of the parish.

 

 

 

 

March 24, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

Lent progresses quickly– already we are at the Third Sunday of Lent. In the first reading for today, we hear the story of Moses meeting God at the “burning bush.” Many of us marveled at this biblical story when we first heard it. Flames flared from the bush, but the fire did not claim the bush. Instead, God spoke to Moses from the bush. God spoke to Moses about his love for the Israelites and his plan to rescue them from the Egyptians. The message is clear: God loves his people. Moses will be an instrument of God to demonstrate his love.

Very few of us, if any, have experienced such a dramatic encounter with God as Moses did at the “burning bush.” Still, all the time, God seeks people out to be messengers of his love especially to those suffering, oppressed, and afflicted in any sort of way. Lent is a time for us to be ready and willing for how God might want us to bring his love to the suffering, oppressed, and afflicted.

In the middle reading, St. Paul quickly summarizes some of the experiences of the Israelite people. He concludes with a warning: “Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.” Our security and stability rest in the Lord.

The Gospel selection has two parts. Jesus recalls two of the tragedies that claimed lives from his time. Jesus speaks about Pilate’s persecution of  Galileans. He then speaks about a tower that collapsed at Siloam and killed 18 people. He uses these historical events to convince people of their need to repent. Jesus makes no judgement about those who lost their lives in these tragic events. He cites these stories to encourage us all to repent. True repentance requires an acknowledgement of sin and a turning away from sin. Repentance needs to find its place in our Lenten observance. Without repentance our Lent is far from complete.

The second part of the Gospel offers the parable of the fig tree. The parable is about God’s patience with us. Jesus’ story raises the question of how I have received and accepted God’s patience. Patience is one of those gifts and virtues that can be easily taken for granted. The end of the parable suggests we must not abuse God’s patience. “…it (the fig tree) may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.”

The parable of the fig tree not only describes God’s patience with us, but brings us to examine our virtue of penance, our penance with others and with ourselves. Patience is a great virtue that mimics the love of God. The parable on patience reminds me of another saying from Jesus in Luke’s gospel, one that ends the Lucan version of the Sermon on the Mount.  “For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” The patience I offer will be the patience I receive.

PARENTING

The vocation of a parent is so very sacred. I like to say that moms and dads shape the souls of their daughters and sons. The rite of Baptism addresses parents as the first teachers of children in the ways of faith. Parents speak today of the many challenges of raising children. At Baptism I often suggest that parents want the 3 H’s for their kids. Parents want happiness, holiness, and health for the children they love so much. We realize today that many grandparents are often involved in the raising of children.

The Church has always tried to assist parents in their vocations. That is the foundation of the very important ministries of Faith Formation, Catholic parish schools, Youth Ministry, CYO, and other ministries. We are very blessed to have very active Boy Scout and Girl Scout organizations here at St. Anne’s. Totaled up, St. Anne’s has more than 2,000 children involved in these ministries and activities.

During the first week of April we are sponsoring two nights that address issues of family life and parenting.

On the first of every month we are celebrating our 90th Anniversary year. For Monday, April 1, we are screening a film, entitled “Angst.” This film addresses the issue of anxiety that touches countless numbers of lives.  The film is dedicated to raising awareness about anxiety and its effects on individuals and their families.

Following the film, a panel discussion will be available for conversation and the sharing of information about resources. Many young people and adults truly suffer from anxiety. We sponsor this evening so that it may provide assistance and understanding to those who join with us on Monday, April 1 in the auditorium.

On Thursday, April 4 our St. Anne’s Home School Association is sponsoring a seminar entitled “Raising a Beautiful Child.” In this presentation, parents are taught practical strategies and methods that will help them activate self-esteem in their children. Self-esteem is understood as a most important gift for a child. Without self-esteem, life is more difficult than it has to be. “Raising a Beautiful Child” is part of the Hance Family Foundation’s effort to assist parents and families to raise healthy daughters and sons.

Please consider attending these two events that are designed to help parents, children, and families. Both programs are open to all parishioners and I am grateful for the leadership of those who have organized both nights.

CINDERELLA

The school play this year is Cinderella. More than 70 St. Anne’s school children are involved. Young children love Cinderella. It would be a great treat for grandparents to extend to young grandchildren. Again, all are invited. The dates and times are located in the bulletin.

Enjoy a blessed week!

Fr. Tom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The letters are available in PDF and require Adobe Reader to view.  If you do not have Adobe Reader, you can download it for FREE by clicking the graphic to the right.