March 22, 2020

A Message from Father Larry...

I would like to share the following…. It is a compilation of some e-mails and phone messages I have received…

“Hi Father, I am just checking in to see if you are alright and if you need anything. I know that I cannot adequately explain the gratitude and joy that fills me hearing from you. I feel humbled that with all of the people you care about and nurture, that you have included me in your thoughts and prayers.”

Safely sequestered here at the rectory, and doing my best not to bother Pattiann too much, although some moments are better than others, I pray for the people who are alone and lonely. They do not have human contact or human caring. Please pray for them. Every day at Mass we pray for the doctors, nurses, and health care professional who care for the sick, please add to that list the household staff who clean. We pray for the police, fire and first responders, please add to that list all of the people who work in the supermarkets and other service related fields. The list can go on, in essence if you think of someone then they can use your prayers. To the world, prayers might seem meaningless, pray for them they have no sense. To those who believe, prayers can bring a holiness to our needy humanity. Finally, instead singing Happy Birthday when you wash your hands, slowly pray the Hail Mary. Remember you don't need to let the water run while you are scrubbing, that only wastes water.

Reflection… To Live New Way

Jesus represented the final covenant God made with humankind. The sign of this covenant bore no mark of earthly distinctiveness – no tree of good and evil, no rainbow, no circumcision, no Passover lamb. The mark of the new covenant was Jesus Christ and his new way of living, distinguishing God’s chosen people from all others. Christ’s way of living was a new kind of circumcision, marked on the hearts of Christ’s followers by “the two-edged sword of God’s Word” (see Heb 4:12). God designed that a divinely chosen people should be distinguished from all others by the kind of love Jesus generously displayed.

Christian identity is marked not by a knife but by the waters of baptism. In that sacred rite, a former way of living marked by the spirit of this world is put to death. From these waters, God’s new Israel emerges to live a new way, marked out by Jesus in the kingdom he came to proclaim here on earth.

More to the point, the true followers of Christ, claiming membership in the “true religion,” are those who communion is marked by the values, the attitudes, and the priorities of Jesus. The people of true faith are those who, by their surrender to the Holy Spirit, guarantee that the two-edged sword of God’s Word will carve into their hearts the identity of Jesus’ personhood. That carving implies the pain of breaking with the spirit of this world. But if that is the sacrifice we are willing to share with Christ, his identity will become visible in a Church clearly distinguishable by her consent to carry the cross.

Msgr. John McIlhorn, adapted from Forty Days Plus Three