By Fr. John Jasica
IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG
It seems so long ago that we received the announcement from Bishop Fabbro that our churches needed to close for the safety of the faithful due to the pandemic. Many thought that this would be a short term reality and that the COVID-19 virus would pass quickly. We hoped to return to “normal” life again. Unfortunately we continue is this unwanted change.
I think we are all tired and worn out. We have all been through a lot. People are under financial pressure, the schools are closed, despite the fact that some restrictions are being lifted slowly, many are still out of work with some businesses that will not survive this challenging time.
With all the personal, family and financial challenges, we add the fact that we are disconnected from our parish families and the sacraments. The very gift of faith that can sustain us during times of crisis.
A TIME OF OPPORTUNITY
Whether we like it or not, our lives are very different right now and will never return to the way they were back in February. In some ways this is sad, but in other ways this unwanted change can give us a better and deeper perspective of life, faith, family and community. The only way we can see this as an opportunity is to set aside our disappointment and frustration looking beyond the obvious, asking the question — WHAT MORE DO WE SEE?
I think we have and will continue to discover more about ourselves, what we see as important, what we need to let go of and what we need to embrace more. This unwanted time of change is giving us a chance to go deeper and see more!! What can you see? Well, our new and final message series of the season will help us along the way.
NEW MESSAGE SERIES
Fr. Pedro, Deacon Dennis, Deacon Mark and myself are presenting our latest message series called “What More Do We See?” A chance to dig deeper and embrace the circumstances we are in seeking patience but also a deeper understanding of what God wants to show us. Are we ready to listen or are we too distracted and frustrated to see the hope, light, love and mission God is offering right now?
(1) Week #1 – Three’s Company
In the first week of the series, we celebrate Trinity Sunday. It is a chance for us to celebrate God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I am sure we can share the countless homilies that would refer to this feast as a mystery or use a three leaf clover to describe God as Three Persons in One Being. Of course this is all true but what more do we see?
God is a community of love. If we are made in the image and likeness of God then we too need to reflect a community of love. How can we do this today? What does it mean to be community? Just turn on the TV or go on social media to find out how offensive, demeaning and hurtful we are with one another. There are so many divisions in our world. We need to heal, forgive and listen to each other. This becomes the way we truly understand the Trinity.
(2) Week #2 – Skip the Dishes
The second week of our series falls on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus (Corpus Christi). We celebrate the gift of the Eucharist in our lives. This is very challenging for us because we cannot be at Mass right now. Yet if we are to look deeper we need to “skip the dishes” and reflect on how we as faithful disciples, are called in this moment to feed others who are hungering for justice, peace and freedom.
We are fed from the Eucharistic table not to simply be filled with Christ, but we must also then feed others who are longing for the presence of Christ in their lives. How do we do this in the midst of our world today?
(3) Week #3 – The Fantastic Four
In the midst of this pandemic we need to be courageous and not simply survive. The scriptures on this third week of the series offer us heroes of faith who stand up in the midst of the storm offering peace and strength.
Jeremiah, St. Paul and Jesus show us how we are to stand against the current being a light in the midst of the darkness. Like the Fantastic Four superheroes of the comics, each of us have been given unique gifts that we are called to share freely with those in need. How have we done this during this time of crisis?
(4) Week #4 – House Cleaning
One of the unwanted blessings of the pandemic is that while staying home we are able to go through those boxes, closets and attics purging or re-discovering the things that we want or never knew we had.
Stopping the busy lives that we lead has allowed us to take stock of what is important and what has been a waste of time. Hopefully we have taken advantage of the time to slow down, assess, calculate and change what is necessary so we live healthier, better and more meaningful lives.
Our house cleaning is not limited to our spare rooms and closets but our souls, hearts and calendars. What needs to change in our lives so that we can be more to our families, friends, parish and those in need?
WHAT MORE DO WE SEE?
I am hopeful that this series allows each of us to look beyond the surface level circumstances we are in and take advantage of the time to go deeper and uncover more graces and gifts that God has to offer. I pray that we are joyfully surprised by God’s presence and love when we ask the important and challenging questions in our lives.
I am hopeful that we are all open to making the necessary changes as a result of going deeper, which ignites a passion for the Good News as faithful disciples. May we journey together helping build the kingdom