From Our Pastor: Fifth Sunday of Lent
“The people I formed for myself, that they might announce my praise.” You are the chosen people formed by God for Himself. Do you know that? Do you live that? Do you announce His praise? Many of us are too afraid to announce the Lord. We think we need to be theologians and biblical scholars to announce the Lord. We are afraid of our own brokenness or past (even our present) and of the brokenness of members of the Church (yes including clergy) and think that should silence us. Instead, let it be the catalyst to say that we all need Jesus and that is why you are here and why anyone you encounter should be here. Do not be afraid to witness. You don’t need to explain the deepest parts of Catholic theology or morality; they stand on their own and that is where a priest comes in. But instead, witness to what Christ has done in you.
Today’s gospel is the perfect answer for your witness. The scribes and the Pharisees bring the woman caught in adultery to Jesus. First off, this is exactly what the world still does today. The world casts blame on someone, unjustly without considering all involved (Where is the man in adultery?). The world announces that person’s sin for all to see. The world refuses to forgive and condemns the person for their misdeeds, all while refusing to see their own sin, and often time their sin is a greater reality than the sin of the one called out. Jesus on the other hand operates completely opposite. He knows our hearts. He finds us in the midst of condemnation by the world. He writes in the dust of the earth to re-create her and make her new, just as He wrote in the dust of the earth at the creation of Adam and Eve. Here, Jesus calls her woman, to reference Eve. If Adam and Eve would have asked for forgiveness and wouldn’t have scapegoated, it would be a much different world. She doesn’t blame others. She doesn’t make excuses. She contritely answers. Unlike the world that says do whatever you want to do because there is no right or wrong, until you do something the world doesn’t like and they condemn and destroy you, Jesus finds us and calls us out of our sins. He doesn’t leave us in our sin, but forgives us, loves us, makes us new, and calls us to sin no more.
So, go witness to where Jesus found you, but how He didn’t leave you there. Witness to how He called you out of your sin and gave you the grace and love and Church to help you combat your sin. Tell people of how Jesus has forgiven you and made you new. Tell them of what He has done in and for you! THIS is witness! This is what Isaiah meant by saying, “Announce my praise!” Hear Jesus’ words, “GO and sin no more.” Well, do it and witness to others to come to Christ so He may do the same in them!
This weekend after Masses the statues will be veiled until the vigil of Easter. This is to call us into these most penitential days and remind us to focus on the immensity of what is taking place. They simplify the reality of the Church space and call us into the deepest penitence. Then when they are unveiled, we are reminded of what Easter is and what Easter has done in all these saints and can do in you, and how all this beauty raises our minds and hearts to God.
I write to you with exciting news! We have hired a new Director of Religious Education and a Youth Minister. It was a tough choice as the applicants were amazing. Our youth minister last year didn’t last, but that shouldn’t discourage us. Mike Holbrook has been asking to retire, and we finally can let him! I am excited to tell you that Elizabeth Alonzo is our new DRE. She is also going to help us establish a better outreach into Spanish ministry. I am very excited for the experience and expertise she brings to this position. She will be such a great asset to the parish! Please welcome her as she begins very soon. We had such amazing applicants for the position that we also decided to hire a part-time youth minister, Jacob Terry. Jake is about to graduate from QU this summer with a degree in theology, and comes with experience in religious education and youth ministry! I am excited to see all Jake brings to this position. He will not fully begin until after this semester is over. He will be around and starting to connect and begin our youth ministry before school is out. Please welcome him as he is around.
There will be much more information released, and I will have them both write a letter of introduction after Easter. Please make sure to welcome them both! This is an exciting moment for our parish.
-Rev. Steven Arisman