Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. As we enter into another Holy Week that seems far from "normal," I probably have more questions than answers. However, these questions, and lack of answers, are impacting your life and mine. We have now surpassed a year into "two weeks to flatten the curve." Will you participate in Holy Week services in person?
Numerous items popped up on my "memories" for today. Five years ago, March 25, 2016, was Good Friday. In 2021, we have an opportunity to celebrate The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. March 25 marks nine months until December 25 when we celebrate the birth of the Lord.
The more I reflected upon the photos from 2016, I could not help but ponder how the two events--the Annunciation and Good Friday--are so closely connected. Jesus came into the world through Mary for Good Friday and Easter.
We enter into Holy Week this coming Sunday as we celebrate Palm Sunday. The annunciation by the angel to Mary that she would bear the Savior of the world set things in motion in a dramatic way in the course of salvation history. We celebrate that event today. I invite you to reflect upon the connectedness of these two events.
To all of the good people at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Cheyenne, Wyoming, thank you for being faithful witnesses to Jesus Christ. I continue to treasure all the memories in which I had the opportunity to pray with you.
Five frogs are sitting on a log. Four decide to jump off. How many frogs are left on the log? There are still five frogs on the log. There is a difference between deciding to do something and actually doing it.
We are beyond the half-way point of the season of Lent for 2021. What resolutions did you make at the beginning of this journey on Ash Wednesday? Did you decide to do something penitential? If so, did you follow through with actions on those decisions?
Whatever your answer to the previous questions, the next one is even more pertinent. How will you finish out the season of Lent? When The Sacred Triduum arrives, will you be able to look back at your Lenten pilgrimage and see definitive evidence of spiritual growth?
The Fourth Sunday of Lent is known as Laetare Sunday. We are rejoicing because we are starting to sense the beauty of Easter in the midst of our Lenten pilgrimage.
This Sunday has also been referred to by some other names as well. Refreshment Sunday is an appealing name that has been used in the past. The Sunday of the Five Loaves comes from the miracle of the boy with loaves and fishes in the Gospel of John. The Fourth Sunday of Lent was also previously observed as Mothering Sunday, in reference to Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, where the faithful are called “sons and daughters of God”. Whatever title you prefer for today, how does it enhance your commitment to prayer, study, and action?
Many blessings to each of you for a fruitful continuation of your Lenten pilgrimage!
I was notified at 6:00 A.M. this morning that Masses were canceled for today. I made the decision to get up and start shoveling the driveway. As I started shoveling, the snow started coming down again. After ten minutes, I decided to call it good. (I guess I am a frog still sitting on the log.)
Someone told me to "find joy in the snow". Maybe it is easier to find the joy if you are not the one shoveling it or driving to work in it. I would still prefer to take my chances with an occasional hurricane in the warm air of South Florida.
To my readers in the West--stay safe!
Yesterday's Gospel still has one line repeating itself in my head, "Zeal for your house will consume me." Has the past year increased my zeal for the Lord's house because of the societal shutdown, or has the absence of the sacraments for this extended period of time diminished my desire to receive them? How would you answer that question?
Do you realize that last year, the second week in March, was the last week we experienced what would later be referred to as "normalcy"? We are now 51 weeks into, "Two weeks to flatten the curve." Who would have ever guessed that our world would have been turned upside down like this by a virus?
We missed Lent and Easter in our churches last year. Many churches are still requiring reservations for the upcoming celebration of Easter in 2021. Limited capacities due to social distancing requirements will be the norm in many locations. After two consecutive years of limited opportunities to celebrate the greatest feast of the year, will the population simply grow accustomed to virtual religion? Will we lose our zeal for God's house?
The photo above was taken this morning in Orlando, Florida and sent to me. It shows the zeal of people desiring to be inside the Magic Kingdom. In some regard, this fills me with hope. There may a come a time when we actually resume living with less fear and more vibrancy. As states "open up," and life resumes some sense of returning to what used to be, will our churches experience overflow crowds? Will people be waiting in line at Easter to get into church, or will that be more the norm for amusement parks and stadiums rather than churches?
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