Today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday in the Year of Faith. We see in the Gospel that Jesus reprimanded “Doubting Thomas” for his lack of faith. But Jesus also showed him mercy. Jesus showed him His wounds and gently told him “Do not be unbelieving, but believe.” (John 20:27)
Pope Francis spoke beautifully about mercy in his very first Angelus address. He said: “God always has patience, is always patient with us, understanding us, awaiting us, never tiring of forgiving us if we know how to return to him with a contrite heart… Mercy changes the world. A bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just. God never tires of forgiving us, never! The problem is that we get tired, we get tired of asking for forgiveness. Let us never get tired... He is the loving Father who always forgives, who has that heart of mercy for all of us. And let us also learn to be merciful with everyone. Let us call upon the intercession of the Madonna who has held in her arms the Mercy of God made human. And don't forget this: The Lord never tires of forgiving. We are the ones who tire of asking forgiveness.”
This year’s St. Joseph’s Award went to the
Ruggieri-Vesey family for their many years of service to our parish. Congrats and thank you for all you do to help make our parish great.
Happy Easter to all! Today is the day that gives meaning to what we do every Sunday! Today gives meaning to our lives! St. Paul said: “If Christ is not raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins.” (1Cor. 15:17) Today those who have lost loved ones comfort one another with assurances of faith. On that first Easter Sunday the holy women went in sorrow to the tomb of their beloved Jesus, and two angels appeared and spoke: “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised!” (Luke 24:5) Then the women went to tell the apostles. The apostles ran and Peter was the first to enter the empty tomb. Then Peter, the first pope, began to “strengthen the faith of his brothers.” (Luke 22:32) Certainly someone told the joyful news to Mary, His mother, with comforting words similar to the Regina Caeli, which we pray instead of the Angelus during the Easter season: “Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia. For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia. Has risen, as He said, alleluia. Pray for us to God, alleluia. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.”
On Wednesday, March 13, the family of God had the joy of receiving a new Holy Father, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the first pope from the Americas, who is an intellectual, an advocate for the poor and a loyal son of the church in regards to devotion and moral teachings. He chose the name Pope Francis in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of Italy and of the poor.
Pope Francis’ first words were certainly very congenial and collaborative. His first reaction was to ask everyone to pray for Benedict XVI. Several times he spoke of brotherhood. Three times he referred to our Heavenly Mother Mary. It was very thoughtful of him to mention the Cardinal Vicar of Rome who would do most of the work overseeing the Diocese of Rome. As an intellectual he deftly referred to his double task of guiding both the Church and Rome and all of the churches: “Let us begin this journey together…this journey of the church of Rome, which is to preside over all the churches in charity. It is a journey of fraternity, of love and of trust between us.” You might say his speech was “interactive” because he got everyone to pray with him and then to pray for him!
Today we begin Holy Week listening to Jesus’ words at the Last Supper, which reminds each of us — and also our new pope — that Jesus wants each of us to be humble servants. At the Last Supper “an argument broke out among them about which of them was the greatest.” So Jesus said: “Let the greatest among you be as the youngest, and the leader as the servant.” Let us pray for Pope Francis as he begins his ministry as the servant of the Servants of God!
Next Sunday is Palm Sunday, our Lenten time of preparation will be over, and our entire parish family will take up our palms to enter into Holy Week with Jesus! Today’s readings give us a few last startling images to prepare us. The adulterous woman is placed before us as an example of who we are. The more mature onlookers realized it first. We are all adulterous because we seek pleasure rather than mature, committed love. Today we hear in the second reading that even St. Paul honestly admits: “It is not that I have… already attained perfect maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope…” He knows he must stop pursuing “childish things”: “I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”
This will be a very special Holy Week because we will have a new Pope in Rome, and in our parish we will have new Catholics baptized into the faith during the Year of Faith! And all of us can have mature faith if we meditate this week on His suffering, death and resurrection. St. Paul says that this faith is the one thing we need: “Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind, depending on faith to know him and the power of His Resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death, if somehow I may attain the Resurrection from the dead.”
Tuesday, March 19
Join us for the 5:45pm daily Mass to celebrate our patron St. Joseph. We will conclude our St. Joseph Novena and have a potluck in the plaza.
Year of Faith
7pm in the hall
Leslie Klinger will present on the Sacraments of Initiation
“Rediscover the joy of believing"
As of press time for this bulletin we still did not know who the new pope will be, but when you read these words you may have already heard the words “Habemus Papam,” “We have a Pope!” The word “pope” means “papa” because he is the spiritual father for the church. Many non-catholic Christians do not understand our beliefs about popes and bishops and priests. They do not believe in honoring certain men as representatives of Christ and as leaders ordained by God as mediators between God and men. But throughout the Bible we see that God’s way of guiding us has always been through anointed leaders. Jesus Christ is the one great mediator, prophet and high priest. But in the Old Testament God sent Moses and the prophets who were like foreshadowings of Christ. Then in the New Testament we see that Jesus began to send other men to represent Him. After His Resurrection Jesus sent His Apostles out to be the first Bishops of the church: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you…” (John 20:21).
In today’s second reading we see that the Apostle Paul was completely convinced of this: “God has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ… and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2Cor 5:20)
Thank God for sending us a new pope to help unite us and to reconcile us to God!
Lastly, I look forward to seeing you this week at our Lenten Mission with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist (see the back page for details).
O God, eternal shepherd, who govern your flock with unfailing care, grant in your boundless fatherly love a pastor for your Church who will please you by his holiness and to us show watchful care. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: www.usccb.org
Today’s readings speak of the rock in the desert that Moses struck so that water would pour out of it for the People of God to drink. St. Paul says that “they drank from the spiritual rock… and that rock was Christ.” The rock represented Jesus Himself who gives us “living water.” My favorite Lenten image is this painting “Christ in the Desert” by Russian artist Ivan Kramskoi. It shows realistically the loneliness, hunger, thirst, exhaustion and boredom of Jesus’ 40 days in the desert. Jesus stares at the rocks at His feet, resisting the temptation to turn them into bread. This image can encourage us as we continue our Lenten penance, and our constant prayer for the Cardinal Electors who will elect our new pope!
Save the Date:
St. Joseph’s Lenten
7pm in the church
Priests from around the diocese
will be at St. Joseph’s to hear your confession.
As we draw near to the celebration of Jesus' entering Jerusalem for His "Passover" through death to life, we listen to the Gospel story of the Transfiguration. His chosen disciples see Him glorified and conversing with two heavenly figures, Moses and Elijah, about "His exodus that He was going to accomplish in Jerusalem." The text says: "They saw His glory and the two men standing with Him." What a beautiful vision of the Communion of Saints! This should always be our goal and our ideal: to be "standing with Him." Moses and Elijah "stood with Him" to show that the Old Testament contains prophesies about what would happen to Jesus. Each of us must "stand with Him" in difficult times. We must follow him by carrying our crosses. In the family of the church we never stand alone. We always stand with the saints. In the church we stand with the pope, who is the "Vicar of Christ" on earth. As a church we also stand with our bishop, who represents Christ as the chief shepherd of our diocese. Each parish has a pastor and other priests who stand defending the sheep of their little flock. I thank God for all of you who do not stand alone but who "stand with" and support me and all the shepherds of the church. Thanks to those who will commit to supporting our local church in the Bishop's Ministry Appeal. And thanks to those who are praying for our pope and his successor!
The Militia of the Immaculata Villages & the Health Ministry invite you to attend…
MASS & ANOINTING
OF THE SICK
March 2 at 10am in the church
If you need transportation, please contact Suzanne Flint by February 25 at 521-8299. (Hispano parlantes vean página 8 para información)
Our beloved Pope Benedict surprised everyone this week by announcing that he would retire at the end of this month. I think this decision is another example of how Pope Benedict has a prodigious intellect, and is very courageous and humble. He is also German. German people are usually very orderly and practical! He knows that because of advanced age he cannot perform all of the administrative duties that the Bishop of Rome must do for his own diocese of Rome, in addition to serving as an international diplomat in a turbulent world. Pope Benedict is wise and humble and will respect the authority of the new pope. Everyone knows that a retired bishop no longer has authority over the diocese (the new bishop does). In the same way the new Bishop of Rome, legitimately elected by the cardinals who represent the Diocese of Rome, will have the legitimate authority over the Diocese of Rome, and therefore he will also be the only legitimate pope. His successor to the “See of Peter” will be the “Vicar of Christ” who will have the guarantee of infallibility in guiding the Church.
It is providential that we are now beginning the Lenten season of prayer and penance during which we can all pray for Pope Benedict, and for the man who will become our new Pope!
Today’s readings speak of three men who wanted to “live the faith,” but they were discouraged and felt like quitting because of their own weaknesses and failures. Isaiah said “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips…” Then in a vision, an angel purified him by touching his mouth with a burning ember from the altar. Encouraged, Isaiah said: “Here I am, send me!” Saint Peter felt discouraged because he had fished all night and had caught nothing. He said to Jesus: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.” However, Jesus reassured him: “Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching men.” St. Paul said “I am not fit to be called an Apostle.” But the Lord said “My grace is sufficient for you.” Later Paul reflected: “I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God that is in me.” We need the purifying fire of God’s mercy and grace to re-energize us.
This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday (Mass times), when we recommit ourselves to prayer and penance so that we “Live the Faith.” However, it must begin with prayer. We must always “pray gratefully” first, so that we will then have the grace and the wisdom to “serve responsibly” and “give generously!”
Lenten Bible Study
Year of Faith
Starts this Tuesday, February 12 at 7pm in Fr O’Hare Hall
We will use Fr. Mitch Pacwa’s Year of Faith Bible Study as our guide. The bible study is six sessions/weeks and each night will have a talk, small group discussion, and Adoration.
The first 150 people to sign up receive a free book, signed by Fr. Mitch Pacwa. Books are also available for sale in the bookstore.
During the few short weeks that we have this year between Christmas and Ash Wednesday, we have been hearing readings about the beginnings of Jesus’ ministry. People were asking “Who is he?” “Where did he get such wisdom and miraculous powers?” “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” The answers to these questions lie hidden in the syntax of this last question from today’s Gospel: Jesus is NOT the Son of Joseph!
This is the Year of Faith. And the central truth of our faith is that Jesus is NOT the Son of Joseph. He is the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary. Our beloved patron saint, referred to in passing in today’s Gospel, knew that the Father of Jesus was God. St. Joseph can help our faith. Those who are devoted to St. Joseph and to the Blessed Virgin Mary receive from them special graces to understand the mystery of the Incarnation. And to understand the Incarnation is to understand the mystery of life.
As Pope Benedict has told us, faith is not primarily a matter of believing in a “theory,” but it is “an encounter with a person,” (Porta Fidei 11). “…In him, all the anguish and all the longing of the human heart finds fulfillment. The joy of love, the answer to the drama of suffering and pain, the power of forgiveness in the face of an offence received and the victory of life over the emptiness of death: all this finds fulfillment in the mystery of his Incarnation,” (Porta Fidei 13).