Getting deeper into Lent has, hopefully, led us to take a bit more time in prayer. We are approaching Holy Week. Jesus laid out His ministry and message in three years, but in a period of three Holy Days a lot of action takes place. We see sleeping, betrayal, denial, doubt, fear and abandonment, but we also see Christ leaving the Eucharist and His ultimate sacrifice because He loved us enough to suffer and die.
Yes, many friendships and testimonies of faith were tested and most of the humans failed. Mary, Jesus’ Mother, the other Marys and St. John remained faithful, but the other Apostles were found so lacking. Wait a minute, didn’t Jesus pick those people? Didn’t he tell Simon that his name was Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church? Peter denied Jesus. Thomas doubted Him. Judas betrayed Him. Everyone except for John ran away.
What happened to these mere mortals? Peter begged for forgiveness and was forgiven. He led the new Church until he too died like Christ. Thomas regretted his doubt and asked for forgiveness. He too was forgiven and became the Apostle to India. He was martyred for his faith in India. The other Apostles, all martyred except for John, asked for forgiveness for their lack of faith. Judas, he committed suicide. What a shame, because we can speculate that Jesus would have forgiven him as well. What about us? Do we fail? Of course, but all we need to do is ask for forgiveness. Have we done that? I hope so. In order to celebrate and participate in the Resurrection we need to go to God and ask pardon for our lack of faith in Him and express our gratefulness for all that God has done. Like the Apostles we are charged with bringing the Good News to all.
Bible Vs. Matt. 16:15-16,18-19 “Simon Peter replied, You are Christ, the Son of the living God... And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”
Prayer: Help me to be faithful all the time, but when I fail, like your most intimate followers, reach your hand to me to help me up. I’ll get up and begin again and try not to fail you, but if and when I do, I will always ask for forgiveness. Help me also to give forgiveness as quickly and honestly as you do. Amen
Highlights: Come and celebrate the days of Holy Week at Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine. Thursday, April 18 is the Mass of the Last Supper at 7:00 PM, Good Friday, April 19 is the Passion of Our Lord at 2:00 PM, Holy Saturday is the Easter Vigil at 7:30 PM and Easter Sunday Mass is at 8:00 AM. Alleluia, the Lord is Risen!
Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine, 21281 Chardon Rd., Euclid, Ohio 44117
When we last saw Mary, she was at Cana telling us: “Do whatever he tells you.” Jesus would begin his ministry. In our own lives at this moment we are in Lent. Jesus has finished his ministry and approaches his suffering, death and resurrection. Where is Mary? There she is. Look around. Mary is right with Jesus. She follows him everywhere. She is the first and best disciple. The most loyal and loving. She did not deny him or run away, but we don’t hear a word from her. I wonder what she was thinking when things went so wrong for her son? Sometimes that happens to us too. Things look so dark. We must be loyal and loving too and wait for the resurrection. Mary is with Jesus at the foot of the Cross, at his burial, at his resurrection, his ascension, and finally in the upper room waiting for the Spirit. Her advice to us: follow him. What have you done for Lent so far? Given up anything? Prayed a little more? Given extra to those who don’t have? All good things, but what about coming to the Shrine for a weekday Mass? How about buying a Lenten daily reading book in the gift shop to give you and your family a Lenten thought for the day? How about buying a religious Easter gift to give to someone? How about remembering that Easter is Christ rising? What did Mary do? She followed her son.
Come and visit us at the Shrine. The schedule for Holy Week is Tuesday, April 16, Mass 7:00 AM, Holy Thursday, April 18, Mass 7:00 PM, Good Friday Services April 19 2:00 PM and Holy Saturday, April 20 Mass 7:30 PM. Mary will be here as usual. We hope that you can too. Happy Easter. Please attend our Pasta Dinner on Thursday, April 25. The outdoor shrine season begins Sunday, May 5th.
In the Trinity,
Sisters of the Most Holy Trinity
The Prodigals: Father and Son
In the parable we heard this past Sunday, we have both a prodigal son who spends lavishly and a prodigal father who loves with the same encompassing abandon. For some reason it put me in mind of The Wizard of Oz as Dorothy learns that she has within her the power to return home. She just needs to know her heart’s desire. It evoked questions in me: What is my heart’s desire? What do I gain and what must I sacrifice in seeking it? What do my mistakes along the way teach me? Who helps me, challenges me, welcomes me, celebrates me? When do I become the one who forgives, welcomes and celebrates?
Read Luke 15: 11-32 and then watch the ending of The Wizard of Oz. (If you don’t have a copy, it is easily found on YouTube.) Spend some time with the rich images in both and allow God to speak to your heart’s desire. Perhaps you might begin or end with this prayer from St. Ignatius of Loyola:
Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will. Amen.
Do you like to listen to music? Do you hum along or sing some of the lyrics of the song and surprise yourself that you even remember them? I think that most people do like music, but if you really take the time to listen to those lyrics that we are singing along with I think that we would discover something important. The songs are great, but so sad. For the most part they talk about lost love or having to watch a significant other going with another person. They might even tell us that they have had too much to drink and could they be forgiven for what they have done to their relationship.
The point is the songs seem hopeless, the relationships dysfunctional and the looming ending will come to no good. There is no permanence, respect for the other or even a glimmer of the possibility of happiness. Those songs, while the music and the beat are catchy, do not paint a life that most of us want to live. Perhaps your life is like that or after hearing the message so much it is accepted that we can’t have a lasting healthy relationship. God did not mean life for us to be hopeless or loveless. God’s love is everlasting, hopeful, respectful and meant to lead us to happiness. Oh, sure we have problems, but if we have someone to walk with our problems carry half the weight.
It is Lent, a time for self-reflection for communication with our best friend: God. The world and pop culture tell us all sorts of nonsense. God’s message is constant and ever loving. God shows us how to love Him and each other. Just because the world’s message is louder does not mean that it is true. The volume gets in the way. God speaks softly. We really must listen. Take some time out to read scripture thoughtfully. Stop in a church and visit your friend God. That would be like going over your best friend’s house. Maybe you’ll be surprised with your conversation.
Bible Vs. Jer. 29:11 “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm to give you a future with hope.”
Prayer: Oh, Lord, there is so much noise around me. It drowns out your word. I try and try to listen, but I grow very weak and tired. Help me to hear your words of hope and to trust you. I have been betrayed so many times, but then again so were you. It is hard for me to “forgive them” as you showed me. I just want to avoid another relationship, so I fear trying again. Help me to strengthen my relationship with you so that I can recognize the friend that truly loves me. Thank you, Lord for never leaving me.
Sr. Phyllis Ann, O.SS.T.