The Church is still rejoicing at the Resurrection of our Lord as we conclude the Octave of Easter today. Easter is too big to be contained by just one day so the Church celebrates for eight days, and since Palm Sunday two weeks ago, the Catholic Church has been in full swing with one big celebration after another. The liturgies at Saint Magdalen's were wonderful and mystical and awe inspiring, reaching their apex on Easter Sunday morning with crowds that overflowed into the narthex at every Mass. How exciting and invigorating to see so many Catholics come out to celebrate their faith. It gives us a foretaste of how things will be in heaven and a look at how things could be here on earth. A special thank you goes out to all who made the liturgies so moving and prayerful and thanks to each of you in the parish for making St. Magdalen's the wonderful place to encounter Jesus Christ. There were so many volunteers involved in decorating the Church, serving at the altar, Lectors, Cantors, and the choir. The list goes on. Thank you!
Today, the celebrations continue with two events – the Universal Feast of our Lord, Divine Mercy Sunday and the canonizations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII. Divine Mercy Sunday falls each year on the first Sunday after Easter. It concludes the octave of Easter. This was our Lord's desire as He revealed it to St. Faustina. Jesus tells us, through St. Faustina, "My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity." He goes on to say, "The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment." We know that when we go to Confession we are forgiven, but we still must make amends for our sins. That is what purgatory is for. But on this day, God's Divine Mercy even takes the temporal punishment away from us. No purgatory! That means we are restored to our Baptismal perfection by Jesus Christ. This is a great gift from Almighty God that we are wise to take advantage of and develop a true devotion to the Mercy of Jesus Christ.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family:
This is the Day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!
We can't underestimate what those emotions must have been like for Peter and John racing to the tomb, after they heard the words from the women "He is alive." It was news almost too good to be true.
If it was true then, everything Jesus said was all entirely true. Everything He did made so much more sense. All that they knew from the Scripture were fulfilled. If it was true they would have to respond to the news; nothing in their world could stay the same. Everything in their life would be different because they would now be the witness of this great story. Somehow they would have to make it known to others. It would not just be for them. The apostles running to the tomb is a good image of us this morning.
We all need this kind of expectant faith. The world we live in is rapidly becoming a world absent of wonder and awe for God. Many people have lost a sense of spiritual direction in their lives. We have only to look at our local sad statistics of heroin overdoses and suicide of young people. The rising tide of such statistics point to a severe lack of hope and a loss of spiritual energy. The answer is a need for significant meaningful relationships. The most significant is a relationship with the Risen Christ. Christ is God and He wants a personal relationship with each of us.READ MORE
Dear Parish Family:
Priests and deacons pray the Liturgy of the Hours (the Divine Office) every day (or at least parts of it). The very first prayers recited each day are called the Invitatory. For the first five weeks of Lent, one of the two Antiphons prayed as part of the Invitatory goes like this: "Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts."
Now as a general rule it is probably not a good idea to harden your hearts, voice of the Lord or no. Nonetheless, most of us certainly do harden our hearts at certain times, perhaps because it is easier to deal with emotional or difficult situations if we put up a stony facade. And so, in moments of weakness, I have found myself walking in the opposite direction of a parishioner who looks like he or she wants to talk about something important to them. (If I have ever done this to you, I ask your forgiveness! ...and for a second chance.) In the same way, we might ignore a co-worker or friend who is hurting and needs a shoulder or sympathetic ear; we might give wide berth to a homeless person on the sidewalk as we walk by; we might persist in fooling around on the computer when we know our spouse has been waiting for us to do something that is important to her or him that she/he asked us to do days ago.READ MORE