Sacred Heart

Catholic Church

Imlay City, Michigan  Tel: (810) 724-1135

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Homily
Fr. Paul Ward

Sunday, March 22, 2015
5th Sunday of Lent, Cycle B
(readings Cycle A)
Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Passiontide

1.    

   We now enter into the last two weeks of Lent. These are the weeks of the most intense spiritual preparation, as we dispose our souls to receive all the graces that God wants for us during the Sacred Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and eventually Easter. This period of the year is called “Passiontide.” In America and other places, it is often a custom to cover the crucifix and other images with purple. We will uncover the crucifix in a beautiful, ritual way at the celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, whereafter we all venerate the crucifix. The rest of the images are covered out of a sense of austerity, the reappearance of their beauty adding to the glory and joy of Easter. This year I decided to not have the stations covered, as these are the days when they are most used, and their artistic representations can contribute to fruitful prayer and contemplation.

   I wish to encourage us all to intensify our spiritual lives these two weeks, for which the parish has several things at your disposal.

   Above all I encourage everyone to get their Lenten confession in; it is wise to not leave it to the last minute. Furthermore, we have one more mini-retreat, this coming Saturday, for the women. We only have one more Friday bilingual stations of the Cross, this coming Friday, at its usual time, 6pm. On Wednesday, the solemnity of the Annunciation, after the 10am Mass and stations, some will do their consecration to Mary according to the method of St. Louis de Montfort. The rosary group continues to meet and pray, as stated in the bulletin, as do those who practice devotion of the Holy Face, the dates of their meetings being published also in the bulletin. These and so many other spiritual means are at your disposal: I encourage everyone to make ample use for them.

   [Misa de 12n: También les hago recordar que existen, en los estantes de folletos, encontrados uno en la parte posterior de la Iglesia cerca de la puerta central, otro en el pasillo que sale para el salón parroquial, algunos folletos que les pueden servir muchísimo. Tenemos uno en azul, que es cómo se reza el rosario, con oraciones, explicaciones y pinturas muy bonitas; y otro en rojo, que cómo se reza la coronilla de divina misericordia. La novena encontrada en este folleto rojo comenzará el viernes santo, y animo todos a participar. Estos folletos en rojo y en azul existen en inglés y en español, y se ven semejantes, entonces, les animo a poner atención para agarrar la versión correcta que más les sirve. En el estante en el pasillo, además, tenemos algunos folletos sobre la castidad matrimonial y la planificación familiar natural. Un folleto dice, “¿Qué hay de malo con los anticonceptivos?... y qué es lo beneficioso de la PNF.” Les puede ayudar a entender mejor, y practicar con fidelidad, estos aspectos de sus matrimonios para crecer en amor como esposos y vivir en una casa llena de la alegría que sólo da Cristo y su iglesia. También hemos añadido un librillo, Columna de fuebo, columna de la verdad, que contiene respuestas a las preguntas más comunes e importantes, y así les puede ayudar a conocer, amar y vivir mejor su fe en este mundo, para lograr la vida eterna. Por favor, si lo quieres leer, tome uno y leerlo, un poco cada día, y verá cómo le ayuda en su fe.]

   I mentioned the women’s retreat. I often ask for volunteers, from among those who are not on the retreat – so that means husbands, for this coming weekend – to provide a breakfast. The parish pays for it, but we do ask those on retreat to donate what they can, $5 recommended, to help the parish cover the costs. But we need volunteers. Gentlemen, I have heard that every good wife keeps something in the back yard which goes by the name, “The Doghouse.” Keeping this in mind, I hope many of the men volunteer to provide a good breakfast for their wives or even adult daughters that may be attending the retreat.

   There are even more means at your disposal (and yes, “disposal” and not just “disposition” is fine for this idiom!), to help you live well your weeks of Passiontide, including Holy Week. We have, for example, the ongoing Bible Timeline series with Jeff Cavins. The rack of CD conferences on Catholic topics, from Lighthouse Catholic Media is always being updated; it might be a good time to listen to a few, or even contact the volunteer who runs that, whose contact card can be found by the CD’s, if you wish for a topic, a book, a longer CD series which they also make available at excellent prices. Moreover, we have restocked the pamphlet shelves with things like the Pilar of Fire, Pilar of Faith, and also a Voter’s Guide by which you can prepare yourself, before the next round of elections come, to take a well-formed Catholic Conscience with you when you cast your ballot, for which, I remind us all, you will answer to God at your last judgment.

   I would, finally, stress the point of “participation.” I mostly encourage participation at the Easter Vigil mass on the night of Holy Saturday. It is the most important liturgical celebration of the year, and our beloved catechumens will be receiving baptism, confirmation and first communion that night. Very different from any other Mass, it is also more beautiful than the rest, and at it we celebrate the central act of Christ’s work of salvation for us, his victory over death and sin by his glorious resurrection in the flesh. Please be encouraged to attend.

   The altar boys, furthermore, should participate in the rehearsals for the liturgical celebrations of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. If they do not attend the rehearsals, they cannot serve at those celebrations, as they are quite different from what is usual; and I would expect the boys who rehearsed to serve at those Masses for which they rehearsed.

   All the parishioners can help with the setting up and decorating of all these services. It takes a lot of work, and our altar society is, if energetic, needing more hands – your hands. You can see the times for the set-up and take-down of the various liturgical services on pages pinned to the bulletin board in the hallway, and I hope very many people sign up. Please don’t be that kind of parishioner that expects everyone else to do everything, and doing nothing, except maybe complaining.

            There are many spiritual reflections in my mind today, especially with the important narration of the resurrection of Lazarus, the meditations on King David which I have been offering at all the daily Masses of Lent, our beloved catechumens, and the proximity of holy week, but time being what it is, I have to end this homily now.

            May the Blessed Virgin obtain for us, and for Catholics all around the world, especially those who are persecuted, those suffering from poverty and sickness, those who are alone and abandoned, that grace by which we may love God above all things, and our neighbor as ourselves, through the important meditations on the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

 


 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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