Today is a new beginning. It is the day that you and I must begin again affirming the centrality of Jesus in our lives. And every day we must remind ourselves that he did not do all of this just for me. Although theologians have said, it is true, that if even only one person made up God’s creation, Jesus would still have suffered, died and risen for that one person, the entirety of his teaching reveals to us that Jesus’ saving death and resurrection was done for us and for our salvation. He came to give us life, life to the full, as one Body (his) united in the love of God, emp- tied out of love for the Father and filled with the Holy Spirit. Our Vigil Mass this weekend is focused entirely on the sacraments which bring this Church into Being: He did everything to make us one. We are his.
Dear Good People of Saint Bernadette,
This week I’d like to offer this pastoral reflection from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 22 March: “Living as a People of God in Unsettled Times.”
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Administrative Committee has issued the following pastoral reflection in solidarity with those who have been forced to flee their homes due to violence, conflict or fear in their native lands. In the statement, the bishops encourage each of us to do what we can to accompany migrants and refugees who seek a better life in the United States.
The word of God is truly alive today. “When an alien resides with you in your land, do not mistreat such a one. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt” (Lev. 19:33-34). To live as a people of God is to live in the hope of the resurrection.
To live in Christ is to draw upon the limitless love of Jesus to fortify us against the temptation of fear. Pray that our engagement in the debate over immigration and refugee issues may bring peace and comfort to those most affected by current and proposed national policy changes.
Let us not lose sight of the fact that behind every policy is the story of a person in search of a better life. They may be an immigrant or refugee family sacrificing so that their children might have a brighter future. As shepherds of a pilgrim Church, we will not tire in saying to families who have the courage to set out from their despair onto the road of hope: “We are with you.” They may also be a family seeking security from an increased threat of extremist violence. It is necessary to safeguard the United States in a manner that does not cause us to lose our humanity.
Intense debate is essential to healthy democracy, but the rhetoric of fear does not serve us well. When we look at one another do we see with the heart of Jesus? Within our diverse backgrounds are found common dreams for our children. Hope in the next generation is how the nation will realize its founding motto, “out of many, one.” In doing so, we will also realize God’s hope for all His children: that we would see each other as valued sisters and brothers regardless of race, religion or national origin.
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh (Jn. 1:14), strengthens us to bring our words to life. How might we, as Catholics and in our own small way, bring our words of solidarity for migrants and refugees to life?
1. Pray for an end to the root causes of violent hatred that force mothers and fathers to flee the only home they may have known in search of economic and physical security for their children.
2. Meet with members of your parish who are newcomers, listen to their story and share your own. Hundreds of Catholic parishes across the country have programs for immigrants and refugees both to comfort them and to help them know their rights. It is also important to reach out in loving dialogue to those who may disagree with us. The more we come to understand each other’s concerns the better we can serve one another. Together, we are one body in Christ.
3. Call, write or visit your elected representative and ask them to fix our broken immigration system in a way that safeguards both our security and our humanity through a generous opportunity for legal immigration.
As Pope Francis said, “To migrate is the expression of that inherent desire for the happiness proper to every human being, a happiness that is to be sought and pursued. For us Christians, all human life is an itinerant journey towards our heavenly homeland.”
These are confusing times. The problem is we can be so sucked into the vortex of all the angry words and fear-dealing violence that we can, as the bishops say, lose a sense of our own humanity and begin to return hatred for hatred. It has been a rough year in the confessional: the anger that many of us have discovered is palpable, and it can come out of us in ways that are damaging. Although anger is one of the seven deadly sins, we also know that Jesus never sinned, though he was clearly angry at times. Anger is a response to injustice, inhumanity and irreverence and, as such, is really an expression of the love you have for those who are disrespected, treated unjustly or abused. But anger that has doing damage as its goal destroys both the one angry and the object of that anger. Jesus was an itinerant. He accepted the hospitality of those who would receive him as he worked, people like Lazarus and his daughters with whom deep friendships are born. Literally, life out of death.
God bless you,
* Please make note. First Mass on Easter Sunday is a bit earlier, 7:45am instead of 8am. Our intent is to provide a little more parking lot space between the first two Masses. Thanks for your flexibility.
* We invite prospective families to tour our parish school at our next Open House is Friday, April 7th from 9:30-10:30am. If you have any questions, please contact our Registrar, Mrs. Johns at email@example.com .
* Please join us for our Lenten Soup Suppers and Stations of the Cross each Friday during Lent. Soup supper begins at 6:30pm in the school cafeteria, English Stations in the Church at 7:30pm and Spanish Stations in the chapel at 7:30pm. Bring the whole family to enjoy good soup and fellowship and then spend time waking the way of the Cross with Jesus.
* Please find the Sacred Triduum schedule for Holy Week on page 9 of today’s bulletin. During this period of three holy days, we ask that regular parish activities be suspended and everyone try to come as much as possible to our liturgies.
* Divine Mercy Devotions will be scheduled for 3pm on the Second Sunday of Easter, 23 April.
* Please send in your pledge for the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal if you haven’t already. We are asking every household in our parish to support this appeal to the extent you are able. We are at 90% of our goal!