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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.

 

 

 

 

April 21, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

Blessed and Happy Easter to you, your family, and all those you love. We begin today the 50 day Easter Season. Throughout the Easter Season our scriptures at Mass will come from the New Testament. We will trace the growth of the earliest Christian communities. We will hear St. Paul encourage these communities in Rome, Galatia, Ephesus, Corinth, and other places. During the eight day octave of Easter we will hear of the appearances of the Risen Lord, and then the Easter Season gospels will remind us of the power of the Lord to transform our lives. We enter the Easter Season anticipating that these 50 days will be ones of growth, encouragement, and continued transformation.

This 50 day Easter Season follows these past 40 days of Lent. Lent offered lessons to learn, some experiences of drawing closer to the Lord, and some disappointments marked by sin. These most recent days of Holy Week were a time to reflect before the Crucified Jesus and listen for what Jesus on the Cross says to us. As I reflected on the Cross, I realize so many realities come to the Cross. The Cross is the nexus of the mercy of God and the sins of men. The Cross is the nexus of the sacrifice of Christ and the reality of death. The Cross is the nexus of the power of love and the presence of evil.

Although these themes of mercy and sin, sacrifice and death, love and evil might all help to give understanding of the meaning of the Cross, it must be remembered that the Cross is the place where Jesus died, where the Son of God surrendered all, where Jesus of Nazareth breathed his last. A real person died that day. The Cross is the most recognizable sign and symbol of Christian faith. Today, Easter Sunday brings the Cross to its fulfillment.  Jesus who died on the Cross has risen from the dead. He is alive. In Christ, death loses its power. Christ conquers sin and death, not only for his life is death conquered, but sin and death in all our lives. Easter Sunday renews the invitation for us to join in the victory over death. We need to share in the truth and experience of Easter.

The Empty Tomb of Jesus is the great sign and symbol of Easter. The Empty Tomb tells us Jesus left behind death and entered into the new life of Easter. The empty tomb becomes the vehicle for us that we too can leave behind sin and whatever else diminishes life. The empty tomb invites us to enter into this 50 day Easter Season as a time of growth, encouragement, and continued transformation. All of these themes can be identified in the prayers and readings of Easter.

The Collect (Opening Prayer) and Prayer over the Offerings (Offertory Prayer) underscore these themes. “O God, who on this day, through your only begotten son, have conquered death and unlocked for us the path to eternity, grant, we pray, that we who keep the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit, rise up in the light of life,” reads the prayer that opens the Easter Mass. Similarly, the Offertory Prayer proclaims, “Exultant with paschal gladness, O Lord, we offer the sacrifice by which your Church is wondrously reborn and nourished.”

St. Paul, in one of the options for the second reading for Easter Mass, proclaims the spirit of transformation that Easter brings, “Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough,…let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

The Easter Sunday gospel image of Peter and John running to the empty tomb is an image of life, excitement, and rebirth. We hope for those Easter gifts for ourselves and all those we love.

THANK YOU

I thank everyone who helped to make Holy Week a very prayerful and faith-filled experience for all of us. Everyone who prepared our church, shared in one of many liturgical ministries, or made time to pray with the parish community at this important time, all helped to bring one another closer to the Lord during this past week.

In addition, these past weeks have been a time when many have been very supportive and generous in a financial way. Parishioners have made very generous pledges to our Capital Campaign. Parishioners continue to be generous in the Sunday collection. Thank you. We still need about $750,000 for our campaign for our new building. We ask those who have not yet participated to consider doing so. We are very grateful for your generosity in the Easter collection as well.

Happy & Blessed Easter!

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.