The Great Week - The Fifty Days of Easter - 2017
Anything is Possible
Brandon Vogt is 30 years old, married, and father of five little ones. By profession he is a mechanical engineer. From a strong foundation in Protestant Christianity, after a journey begun in college, a few years ago he was received into Full Communion of the Catholic Church by his Bishop in Orlando, Florida. Brandon is an avid reader, prolific writer, popular speaker – nationally – about the Church, and passionate promoter of all forms of the new media to introduce people to Jesus Christ and the Church. He blogs frequently. On his blog he has written about the meaning of Easter. His effervescent reflection is timely as the Fifty Days of the Easter Season continue till Pentecost Sunday:
“The Resurrection means that for God, anything is possible. If God can do something so miraculous, so surprising, so powerful as the Resurrection, then what can't he do? This miracle proves that God transcends the laws of physics; he stands outside of time and space and all other constraints.
“Which means of course that being present in bread and wine is no big deal. Forgiving sins through confession, healing people through prayer and blessing, and righting our world's most grievous injustices all seem more possible in light of the Resurrection.
“The Resurrection also means that we can have a relationship with Jesus, right here, right now. You can't say the same thing about Confucius, Lao Tse, Buddha, or Mohammed, and none of their followers do. Each of those leaders is dead and you can't have a relationship with a dead man.
“But if Jesus is living, then he still relates, still speaks, still listens, still moves, still engages this world. The Resurrection means that Jesus is not only knowable and lovable but that he too knows and loves.
“Ultimately, though, the Resurrection means that life and love are stronger than death. The Resurrection means that "cancer" is not the last word. It means that if you've lost a parent, a spouse, a child, or a friend, that is not the end of the story. The Resurrection means that the sting of death has vanished, that the fear of dying is needless. The Resurrection means that Spring always comes after Winter, and that every Friday is followed by a Sunday. The Resurrection means that love has prevailed over evil and that life has conquered death.
“In the early centuries, the first Christians greeted each other by proclaiming, "Jesus is risen!" And the other would respond, "He is risen indeed!" They didn't say Jesus was risen, nor did they say Jesus will be risen. They exclaimed that he is risen right now.
The Resurrection is not fundamentally something in the past, nor is it something we only look forward to in the future. The Resurrection permeates the entire cosmos in this place, at this time. The Resurrection is God transforming, renewing, redeeming, and raising to life all that has ever died or been buried. The Resurrection is God injecting this whole world with new life.
“May you become convinced of the literal, historical, world-changing reality of the Resurrection--that it's more than a mere symbol and more than an inspiring story. May you fall in love with an explosive, dynamic Jesus who is more than a good teacher, more than a wonder-worker, more than just a great example for mankind.
“And may you find deep joy, down at the level of your bones, knowing that the God you worship is not dead, that he has not spoken his last word, but that he is profoundly, emphatically alive!”
You Did It to Me”
The 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal in the Archdiocese of St. Louis is now underway. All households-of-record should have received my personal letter of 4 April 2017, encouraging your generosity. A return gift-card was included along with a return envelope addressed to the parish. Your gift makes it possible to continue funding the “people programs” which benefit more than one-half-million children and adults, without respect to race or creed, in this metropolitan community.
Children-at-risk receive vital services. Abused women and families are provided safe environments. The aged benefit from programs enabling them to live with dignity. Education of children and youth is funded. The homeless are given shelter and learn life-skills. The hungry are fed. The unborn, whose mothers choose life are provided loving care. These are only some of the many who benefit from your generosity.
We have been challenged to meet this year, or surpass, our $39,590.00 gift of last year. Your generosity surpassed, by 172%, the “formula goal” set for us by the Appeal leadership! We were first over goal among the South City Deanery parishes of the Archdiocese! We have been challenged to meet this year, or surpass, the number of first time donors here. Last year our goal was five and we numbered six. Our first time donor goal is three this year.
The Appeal weekends are April 22 & 23 and April 29 & 30 and May 6 & 7, and it concludes on Monday, May 22, 2017. Please return your pledge card and gift by mail, or in the offering basket at Mass, or to me personally, before that date.
The Annual Catholic Appeal each year is inspired by the Gospel words of Jesus, “whatsoever you did for these least ones, you did it for me”! Be as generous to God, and the work of God, as God has been generous to you! Your gift, then, will be the right gift!
Our numbers are small, 69 households, but your hearts are great! Thank you, in advance, for your generosity. I am grateful! Those who benefit from your generosity are, for sure, most grateful!
In the name of all in this parish family, thank you to each of you who have had part, in any way, in our preparation for and then the celebration of Holy Week and Easter. All together, and, in the Holy Spirit, you each make an invaluable contribution to our celebration of the Mystery of our Redemption in Christ!
A particular thanks goes to Don Massey, our Director of Sacred Music, Dan O’Brien, our Principal Cantor, and to the members of the schola and the musicians who have enriched our prayer. A particular thanks goes also to Nettie Moore, Pam Hebron and Jennifer Plante for the hours they have spent arranging the fresh flowers in the church so that their simple but elegant beauty, in this sacred place, delights the eye and uplifts the spirit as we celebrate the Paschal Mystery and our sure and certain hope that we are Alive in Christ! An added thanks goes to Robert Gilbert, Jr. our maintenance manager for his behind-the-scenes work in the church and on the parish campus and to Madeline Burns, the sacristan for the cleaning and pressing of the sacred linens. A final thanks is in order to John McGuire for his contributed service, akin to that of a Business Manager weekly so that all, is in order and functioning fully.
Thank you! Thanks be to God!
One of our parishioners recently shared with me a copy of an item from the parish bulletin of a church he had visited. The item offered a welcome reflection. It is a kind-of examination of conscience and a pointed reflection for each of us!
“Is anybody happier because you passed his way? Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today? The day is almost over, and its toiling time is through; is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you? Can you say tonight, in parting with the day that is slipping fast, that you helped a single brother or sister of the many that you passed? Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said? Does the person whose hopes were fading, now with courage look ahead? Do you waste the day or lose it? Was it well or sorely spent? Did you leave a trail of kindness, or a scar of discontent? As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God will say, ‘You have earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today”?