Welcome to Guardian Angels
Dear Friends and Families of Guardian Angels Parish,
Lent comes from a related Latin word for “slowing down.” We’re busier than ever during this time of year. I deeply appreciate the Women’s Group and the Knights of Columbus for their efforts to build community during Lent, by Fish Fries and Soup Supper and by leading the Way of the Cross. Gathering as a community in prayer enables us to be faithful to the Covenant and Promises of God to make us a people, it keeps us in communion with one another, and it builds up the parish. Anything less is a kind of self centered individualism. Now is the time for faithfulness to abound in our lives.
On this Laetare “Rejoice” Sunday, I rejoice in the people of the parish who cooperate with God’s grace to make our community functional and elevate us up into a true people of God. I pray that in your families this spirit of Lent rules the day, especially in your prayers together and in your keeping of the Sabbath rest.
If the first reading from the very end of the II Chronicles sounds like it is being played out right now in the modern world, you may be partially right about that. Some people believe that some sort of “Great Unraveling” is going to take place because of the ethical state of our world. The biblical writer speaks of infidelity as the ultimate sin that shatters their society. Yet, God sent them the prophets so that they might return to the Lord. Yet we point to others as the ones responsible. In globalizing the problem by blaming economists and politicians, we get to feel that we ourselves individually are not responsible. But in the end this strategy never works. We can’t say we don’t know God’s law, for the Holy Spirit has written in on our hearts. God but it there himself. It’s called our conscience.
In those days the people chose to continue in their pattern of infidelity and to ignore the prophets. Sure enough, Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 586 BC; they people were sent into exile. It was about forty years later that the Persian emperor Cyrus II the Great conquered Babylon and reversed its policies of exiling people. The prophet Jeremiah saw this as the work of God.
Part of the Great Unraveling myth is that at some point when all feels lost, then God will rescue us also. This sort of suggests that we can continue “business as usual” because God will save.
And yet, the whole notion of grace is that we cooperate with that grace, now, today, this moment. Grace, received into one’s life, means that I cannot go about my business as usual. Because of God, everything is changed. Faithfulness becomes my priority. Faithfulness itself is based on the great law of love.
The psalm this Sunday is the great lamentation of the Hebrew people in exile. They chant, “By the streams of Babylon we wept.” Our world today is filled with refugees, immigrants, displaced, and fleeing with almost nothing at all for their very lives. 1.8 Christians have not fled the Middle East in the last ten years. At this rate, if the violence continues, then in another ten years there will be no Christians left in our place of origin, Jerusalem. We are living through failure of political will to address the issue. Perhaps only the Church, which is still on the ground in these countries, can stand to bear witness against the horrors. So, in light of this situation, please know that the Good Friday collection normally goes to the Church in the Holy Land. Leadership has stepped forward in the parish to make that an optimal source of help. More will be forthcoming. I write this to move your hearts in this direction.
For the next two weeks, eight of my evenings will be taken by hearing confessions mostly in Spanish in the deanery parishes. I hope your family finds the best confession service to fit your family needs and schedule. Check the websites of our surrounding parishes for their dates and times. Confession is good for us in this time of reconciliation and forgiveness that is Lent.
Please congratulate our new fourth degree knights: Randy Wilson, Ron Stevens, Frank Grout, and Will McDonough. We now have seven in the parish, enough for an honor guard. Congratulations, gentlemen!
May God continue to bless and guide us through this holy season of Lent.
Yours in Christ,
Fr Alan Hartway, CPPS