5th Sunday of Lent

April 7, 2019

Today we celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Lent. We are nearing the holiest week of the entire Church year as we celebrate the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. Next Sunday will be Palm Sunday. In today’s Gospel scene of forgiveness of the woman “caught in the very act” of adultery, Jesus shows us that God will not be held captive by the past, but rather turns us, in hope, toward the future. In the reading from Isaiah the prophet refers to God’s original act of salvation, when the waters of the Red Sea parted to allow His chosen people to pass safely on dry ground. This defining moment became the foundation of Israel’s faith. Despite this, God commands, “Remember not the events of the past.” Isaiah announces that a new act of God will overshadow even the their memory of the Exodus. In today’s second reading, St. Paul mentions two aspects of his personal life throughout his letters. The first is that He is no stranger to suffering. The second is that he possesses an impeccable Jewish resume. In our reading for this weekend, Paul renounces his “gains,” considering everything as loss. In light of knowing Christ Jesus, Paul sees earthly wealth, fame, and accomplishments as nothing but useless waste. In our Gospel, Jesus is tested once again by the scribes and Pharisees as they present a woman caught in adultery. The Law is clear. It seems they have Jesus in the perfect trap, but He says, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone.” When sin might condemn us, turning to Jesus we can hear those powerful words, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” Lent keeps us focused on Jesus and seeing our lives in the light of His mercy. Jesus calls us to leave sin behind and follow Him.

This coming Saturday we all have the opportunity to do just that as Msgr. Morris and I will be offering an extended period for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We will be inviting all parishioners and members of the Oratory to take advantage of this opportunity. We will be in Church to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance from 9:00am to Noon. Plan on taking advantage of this moment of grace.

Thank you to all who came to help with the cleaning of Church in preparation for Easter. The turn out was once again fantastic as both St. Lukers and Oratorians joined forces to make the Church sparkle. A big thanks to the Women’s Guild for organizing this.

Finally today, as we prepare for Holy Week and Easter, please be sure to turn in your Flower Offering Envelopes in order for the names of those you would like to honor or remember to be included in the Easter bulletin. Also, please note the schedule of parish liturgies for Holy Week. On Holy Thursday we begin the Sacred Triduum. There will not be masses on Thursday and Friday mornings. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be at 7pm, followed by time for private adoration until 10:00pm. On Good Friday the Liturgy of the Passion will be held at 7pm. Mass is not celebrated, but Communion (consecrated on Thursday) will be distributed. A special collection will be taken up for the Holy Land. (Having just returned from the Holy Sites, I assure you that our offerings help the Franciscans who are custodians of these sites to maintain these treasures. Please be generous.) On Holy Saturday the Church keeps vigil for the Lord’s Resurrection. There are no services during the day. The Great Vigil of Easter will be held at 8pm. We begin in darkness as we welcome the Light of Christ that conquers death and cannot be extinguished. This is the Liturgy of Liturgies. We will hear the story of creation and salvation, proclaim the Lord’s victory, renew our Baptismal Covenant, welcome new members into our family, and invite them to join in the celebration of the Eucharist for the first time. Wow! What a glorious and emotional week Holy Week is. I encourage you not to miss any of it, and to join me in celebrating it all.

God Bless! Make it a great Lent!

Remember those 3 Hail Marys (Fr. Pete)