FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from Pope Francis ~ “The Lord asks us from his cross to rediscover the life that awaits us, to look towards those who look to us, to strengthen, recognize and foster the grace that lives within us.”
Welcome to the great celebration of Easter 2020! Even though we continue to struggle with the presence of the Coronavirus in our neighborhoods, our state, our country and our world, Easter has come! Life has triumphed! Even though we are constantly reminded that the remedy of this virus is isolation, we join together in faith wherever we are. As we take our virtual places at the table of the Lord, we remember the power of today’s feast.
“Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:5-6).
Do not be afraid…. For three days creation groaned and ached, mourning God’s silence. We waited in the darkness, which came over the earth on Good Friday. Three women come at dawn, daring to approach the guarded tomb, intending to anoint a corpse.
“Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day”(Luke 24:5-7).
Remember what he said…. And suddenly the Lord’s words returned to them just as the sun made its appearance that morning.
“Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples….” (Mark 16:6-7). Darkness is shattered by light. Despair is replaced with hope. Sin is made powerless through reconciliation. Death is conquered by Life. And now in our day, a long winter is giving way to spring. Lent has given way to Easter. A world-wide pandemic will end. Life will slowly returning to the earth. Through the Cross, our greatest enemy, sin and death, has been defeated forever.
In the midst of our isolation and “social distancing,” we have spent 40 days in prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We have spent 40 days preparing to renew our Baptism commitment, which we do today in place of the Creed. We have prayerfully commemorated and mourned the Death of the Lord, taken time to enter into this great mystery. It is time to rejoice and celebrate the greatest mystery of our faith. Death is not the end, but a transformation. It is a rebirth, ushering us into the final stage of life. And now we spend the next 50 days (the 40 days of Lent plus 10) celebrating God’s tremendous gift of Life.
I hope that you were able to participate in our Masses that we live streamed over the past two Sundays. Each week, I was able to celebrate the 10:00am Mass and Father Juan José followed with the 11:30am Mass in Spanish. Our intentions are to do the same today on Easter, and on every Sunday during our great Easter celebration until the day comes when we can throw open our doors, welcome each other in person and gather as the Lord has asked us to do “in memory of Me.”
Who would have thought that we would have “live streamed” our 2020 Easter Triduum ceremonies on Holy
Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. Thank you to everyone who did anything to make these celebrations possible. We followed the directives we received from our Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Richard Pates, and made the adjustments to each liturgy that we needed to make. But in the end, the heart of our prayer together was there each night.
Once we are all back together again, we will look for a Sunday Mass during which we can baptize and welcome our Elect, Karina Melendez. She was called to the Easter Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist by Bishop Pates on the First Sunday of Lent at a special ceremony at the cathedral in Joliet. We will also look for a date when we can welcome those who are coming from other Christian churches and are seeking to enter the Catholic Church with the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist. We will also look to reschedule our parish celebrations of First Eucharist. We believe that everything will happen in God’s time.
For the present, this first week of the Easter Season, commonly called the Octave of Easter, is treated as one single Easter Day stretched out over the first eight days of the season. The daily Masses are celebrated with the same enthusiasm as Easter Sunday. The daily Gospels are all various accounts of the Resurrection, taken from each of the four Gospels. Next Sunday’s Gospel, the Octave of Easter, will situate us on Easter Sunday evening. It is fitting that we begin this season of the Church year with such enthusiasm. The fasting is over. It is time to come to the Feast.
Have a blessed Easter! Notice the different ways in which God is transforming death into life all around us. Look for ways to celebrate God’s gift of life among us. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy
Again this weekend, I share this “Prayer for a Pandemic” – it was sent to me by one of our parishioners.
Prayer for a Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced
remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have no risk factors
remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
let us chose love.
During this time when we cannot physically
wrap our arms around each other,
yet find ways to be the loving embrace
of God to our neighbors.