From the desk of Fr Stephen
This past weekend, I spoke at Mass about how important stories are for us as a people. Every culture has passed its beliefs and history on to the next generation. Many times, in sharing these stories, there is also a point to be made. Our Gospel today gives us such a story. Jesus has entered the Temple and people are buying and selling for the purpose of offering sacrifice to God. This had been going on for centuries, but to Jesus, the people are missing the point about their relationship with God. Jesus shows His anger by dumping over tables and chairs and upsetting the whole scene. He wants people to know that they should be offering themselves, instead of burnt offerings, to God. Jesus wants the LOVE OF GOD burning in their hearts. His message and the moral of the story are meant for us also. We cannot buy our way into Heaven, but only by following the Lord Jesus in the purity of heart and action. By offering ourselves, we go a long way in pleasing God and purifying ourselves of every evil desire.
I hope all of you are taking the opportunity to get the vaccine when you can. I have now received the two shots required. As a Redemptorist, I am lucky to have our health care center so close. I know many of you might be experiencing some/much frustration with the process. Therefore, I ask you to offer your pain over to the Lord. These are the types of things that can bring us much closer to God. Yes, by patiently enduring the process of getting vaccinated, you are receiving valuable graces from God and aligning yourself with Him in His suffering. You may not look at it like that, but this, I think, is the way it works. When we suffer, we become imitators of Jesus, who suffered so much for us. Hang in there! The benefits of the vaccine are essential, but also, by patiently enduring these things, we become more Christlike.
Sweet Hour of Prayer is on Thursday evenings this month at 7 p.m. and I invite you, once again, to be a part of the Spirit that is alive and well during these times we have together. I also want you to be aware of the Eucharistic Adoration we have at the church every Monday at 4:45 p.m. We adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament for a brief time and then celebrate Mass together at 5:30. With the warmer weather and extended daylight, I am hoping more people will join us. As a Redemptorist, I also want to invite you to the weekly Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays. Seventy-five years ago, the church was full on Tuesdays for the Novena—I have seen pictures of a packed church. Were the people who lived then any more Spiritual than us today? I hope not. Mary should be someone we reach out to regularly and these weekly Novena prayers offer us a perfect time to do it. Mary is there always to provide us with her support when we reach out to her. Have a blessed week.