“Father Steve, do you know how much I hate to have my picture taken?” As I have passed through the parish hall periodically, during the photo sessions for the new parish directory, I have heard a few comments along these lines. Initially, I have chuckled. However, upon reflection it occurs to me that for certain individuals, something as seemingly simple as smiling for the camera can amount to a significant sacrifice. Rather than make light of this, perhaps it serves as a stepping off point for a conversation on what sacrifice means, and how we learn to offer up various somewhat-unpleasant-to-downright -painful circumstances and events in our lives to God, who uses them to manifest his grace and effect our eternal good.
As we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost, which culminates Easter for the Church, there is appropriately a strong emphasis on empowerment: the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles empowers them to go forth boldly and testify to the person of Jesus Christ. Of course, this includes miraculous actions and preaching that leads to repentance and conversion. However, the fact is that discipleship led the apostles to suffering and death. They shared in the sufferings of Christ, which in turn led to their sharing in his victory. So, we can say: The Holy Spirit marked the apostles for sacrifice. Let us pray for the courage to make sacrifice in our lives, in order to demonstrate that our faith and discipleship are genuine and not simply “fine as long as things are smooth and easy in my life.”
This weekend, at the 5:30 p.m. Mass, we honor our high school graduates. This will include the awarding of the Magnificat Scholarship. On behalf of the parish, I want to extend congratulations and blessings to all students who are marking milestones in their academic life. I also want to applaud our parents, who I believe make substantial sacrifices in supporting all the endeavors and activities that are part of most students’ lives, even before they reach the post-high school years.
The Mercy Garden project is nearing completion. We invite all parishioners to the blessing and dedication event this coming Wednesday, May 23, at 2:45 p.m. in front of St. Mary School. While I realize that the daytime hour may preempt a good many workers from attending, still we ought to be able to gather a formidable assembly.
I realize this may be a bit late, but I invite all parishioners— gardeners and farmers— to bring yet-unplanted seeds to Mass next weekend, for a blessing. I understand that planting is a bit behind, due to weather. Let us pray for all who work the land, to the benefit of the entire community!