PASTORAL MESSAGE – APRIL 11, 2021
Happy Eastertide y’all!
“He is risen. He is risen, indeed!” You might have heard this greeting that has ancient and potentially seminal power, since some branches of the Christian family tree attribute the greeting to have come from St. Mary Magdalene’s own lips. Remember Mary was the first witness to the glorified, risen Lord, Jesus Christ.
I love this greeting myself. It states in most affirmative terms a truth which we might take for granted if we only focus on historicity, hagiography or liturgy.
Jesus, the Christ IS risen, He IS risen indeed!
Jesus resurrection is an on-going truth; then, now and into the future. And if we really hold on to this as a miraculous, grace-filled fact, then our mindsets, our worldview, our lifetime, and our behaviors, really our very identities are revived, renewed, resurrected and reborn in faith, hope and eternal love.
Maybe you have experienced or felt such a change this year? Maybe, you’ve been able to feel lighter because of Easter joy? Remember back a few weeks ago to the heaviness of Lent, that season which necessarily distills sin and our need for salvation into 40 days of penance, prayer, almsgiving and fasting. Now Easter lifts Lenten feelings from off of us like a dead weight because Jesus is risen indeed! What a blessing! Everything we did, denied ourselves, worked toward, prayed for, wept over, and yearned for in Lent is now allowed to blossom, flower, feast, be free and be fulfilled in this season of Easter! Alleluia!
So with that in mind, let’s consider our own parish almsgiving. It’s my task as Pastor to thank y’all for taking part in our communal Lent. I want to briefly thank those who participated. But I don’t want to thank y’all too much so that the blessedness of your generosity is diminished. And I don’t want to make a big display of gratitude for a generosity that should be normative in Christians. We have a responsibility as God’s people to act according to God’s command of taking care of “widows and orphans”. Still, thank you for participating!
Here’s a recap. As Church, we supplied a month’s worth of diapers for 30 families (families associated with Colette’s Children’s Home). We supplied sustenance for 40 homeless men and women for 50 days (folks in the HB Mercy House program). Approximately 30 families of 4 will have enough food to be fed for a month (folks who seek food at a number of local food pantries). 50 women who are working toward independence will be fed and given housing assistance (through Pathways to Independence). And 204 kids will be aided in learning (through the HB Youth Shelter). That’s great y’all! Thanks again.
While the collective alms we gave to these charitable groups amounted to $9,400 in cash and gift cards, and $1,000’s more in goods, still the need is still great. So we need to now practice generosity in light of Jesus’ resurrection and the hope we gain through our faith in eternal life!
So pray and consider how your sense of generosity might grow and flourish in this Easter Season! Let’s keep the blessings flowing!