Pastoral Message – March 17, 2024

Pastoral Message – March 17, 2024

Hey Y’all,

It’s the Fifth Sunday of Lent! We’re getting ever closer to the celebration of the greatest feast of the Christian Church year, Easter. In anticipating Easter, our liturgy challenges us to consider an essential truth that is central to our faith as Roman Catholic Christians. That essential truth is “the resurrection of the dead and life of the world to come”. (Sound familiar? That’s a line from the Nicene Creed.)

So today, we will hear both the Prophet Ezekiel’s ancient prophecy (circa 597 B.C.) and Jesus’ active miracle of raising his friend Lazarus from the grave (circa 33 A.D.). The 600 years or so between Ezekiel and Jesus’ action didn’t dilute a teaching that bridged ancient Jewish roots and Jesus’ revelation. And now, ever since Jesus’ Ascension, resurrection of body, mind and spirit has been the teaching of the Church and the hope of Christians. So that when Easter rolls around, we’re celebrating a faith that is both ancient, new, and forever. Jesus is risen. He is risen indeed. And by promised extension we who are friends of Jesus, his disciples, his faithful, and his Church will share in his resurrection. And by Christ’s victory over death, we will live victoriously in Heaven. And finally, in the resurrection of the dead, which will be the fruit of Christ Jesus’ return in glory, we’ll have the fullness of being in a new and glorified earth.  It’s almost too much to imagine, but how wonderful it is. This is our orthodox Catholic faith. So hold on to this truth of the resurrection in hope and in loving awe!

And now another point to ponder. This Fifth Sunday of Lent falls on March 17th. March 17th is known religiously and colloquially as the Feast of St. Patrick of Ireland or Fhéile Pádraig. And even though a Saint’s feast day, even for so great a Saint as Patrick, is subordinate to a Sunday, it’s helpful to consider that every saint’s memorial day is related to heaven and life continuing after death. For Padraig, all the Saints and those who have gone before us in grace are already experiencing Christ’s victory over death. Their souls are experiencing Heaven. And while we remember them, thinking back on their lives as exemplars, they are living in Christ, even now communing with God and praying for us. Remember that our God is God of both the living and the dead.

So, if Sunday dinner today consists of corned beef, colcannon and soda bread washed down by a dram of something Irish, give thanks to God for life everlasting. Thank St. Patrick for teaching the Irish about a faith that embraces hope and love because of the promise of heaven. And give yourself over to becoming ever more saintly through Lenten disciplines and Easter joy.

Fr. Reynold

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