March 25: An Important Message from Fr. Jim
Martha and Mary were overcome with grief at the death of their brother Lazarus. Compounding their sorrow was Jesus’ absence at the time they needed him the most. They were not only disciples but also Jesus’ personal friends. He came often to their home in Bethany as a place of rest and renewal. When Jesus finally arrives, the sisters fall at his feet and with great anguish cry out, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Why, at their darkest hour, did he appear to be abandoning them? Death would not have the final word. The death and raising of Lazarus prefigures the death and resurrection of Jesus. When things seem darkest, the light of the resurrection is just on the horizon. Jesus is ever faithful.
In a couple of short weeks, it has become almost cliché to say that we are living in unprecedented times. Yet so we are. We are becoming more and more acquainted with virtual means of communication as the usual ways of connecting at school, work and leisure have been curtailed. And, needless to say, the way we come together as a community of faith has been drastically altered. We are doing our best to stay connected through the daily reflections, musical selections and prayers on our Pastoral Blog, “Peace in Uncertainty”, available on our website. We will continue to post a recorded Mass each Sunday, as well as additional recorded homilies and reflections by our priests and other staff. In addition, we are organizing a phone chain to reach out remotely to those in our community who may be vulnerable to isolation during this time. And we are still producing our weekly bulletin, which is available online here.
Although absolutely necessary from a public health standpoint, it is truly heartbreaking to contemplate not coming together as a community for the Paschal Triduum and Easter. We are preparing to celebrate these liturgies without a congregation and to make them available through our website. As we unite in prayer in that most sacred week, we need to trust more than ever in the power of Christ’s resurrection in these times of uncertainty and isolation. The light of Christ conquers all darkness. May we be that light for each other.
Your selfless gift of time, talent and treasure is what has allowed our parishes be the thriving communities of faith that they are. In these days of exile, we continue to rely on your financial support to sustain our parishes during these challenging days and to assure their viability in the years to come. We fully understand that these are uncertain financial times, and that some parishioners may not be able to continue their offertory contribution at the moment. We hope that those of you who are able to will continue to support your parish during this emergency, so that our parishes can meet their operational needs. Please consider switching to online giving or mail your donations to the parish office. Our community relies on your support.
Although we are in the middle of Lent, a Lent we will never forget in fact, I think that we all need to be reminded how the story ends. And so I will transgress liturgical norms to remind us that, “He is risen. Alleluia!” And let’s recall how Matthew’s Gospel ends. After His ascension, Jesus spoke words we desperately need to hear now: “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt 28:20).
Yours in Christ,
Also, if you know of any parishioners who do not have email or internet access, please let us know so we can reach out via phone and mail.