Fr Alec's reflections on the 5th Sunday of Easter
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Fifth Sunday of Easter
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.
The Lord be with you.
Happy Mothers Day!
Let us pray.
Almighty ever-living God,
constantly accomplish the Paschal Mystery within us,
that those you were pleased to make new in Holy Baptism,
may, under your protective care, bear much fruit
and come to the joys of life eternal.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. R/. Amen.
We will continue with the second reading from this Sunday's mass. In your Bibles, it's 1 Peter, Chapter 2, Verses 4 through 9.
Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings
but chosen and precious in the sight of God,
and, like living stones,
let yourselves be built into a spiritual house
to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
For it says in Scripture:
Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion,
a cornerstone, chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame.
Therefore, its value is for you who have faith, but for those without faith:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,
A stone that will make people stumble,
and a rock that will make them fall.
They stumble by disobeying the word, as is their destiny.
You are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people of his own,
so that you may announce the praises” of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
The word of the Lord.
So, ”you are ’a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a people of [the Lord’s] own,’”--you, you and your family, you and your family and the whole Christian community. All of us together are ”a holy priesthood,” ”a royal priesthood.” The reference is not to the priesthood of the ordained—like Fr. Vincent and me—but to the priesthood of the baptized, of everybody who is baptized, all of us.
When we were baptized, the minister spoke of how “Christ was anointed priest, prophet, and king.” In Jesus, we share in those three roles. Today I want to focus on our common priesthood. In every culture priests are set apart to offer prayers and sacrifices. In a similar way Christians had been set apart from the rest of the people of the world. That's why Father Vincent and I can keep giving the homework we do in these reflections. A couple of weeks ago, he told us to set alarms on our smartphones to remind us to pray. The week before that I encouraged us to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet, specifically for a person dying alone from the COVID-19 virus. And this week, now that we're in Mary’s month, the month of May, I encourage us to pray the rosary. Many of us do that anyway. But Pope Francis is calling us to pray the rosary this month--especially as families-- for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
When you print your bulletin this week-- from the cluster website or Facebook page-- the one for May 10th, on the cover are two prayers written by Pope Francis to be prayed at the end of the rosary during May, every day hopefully.
And remember, Fr. Vincent and I have kept calling us to prayer because that is part of our shared vocation as Christians—all of us share in the priesthood of the baptized, called to offer prayers and sacrifices.
Maybe you set aside time in the morning or in the evening for prayer. Maybe you pray at meals. Maybe you do other religious acts, like crown an image of Mary at your home in May. I'm standing in Saint Mary's Chapel in Union in front of a statue that still had a May crown on it from years ago. This is how I found it today when we opened the chapel to find a location. Maybe you have a crucifix over your door and a Bible in a place of honor. Hopefully when people enter your house, they can see from the decorations that they have entered the house for Christian. But how about if they checked your calendar--would they see Sunday set aside as special, would they see time set aside each day for prayer--the rosary, the Divine Mercy chaplet, prayerful reading of the scriptures, whatever.
We are a royal priesthood, a holy priesthood. Not just the ordained, but all the baptized. That's who the reading is talking about. We've all been set apart to offer prayers and sacrifices. This time of staying at home is a time to be praying more, not less. A time to be praying with spouses, with children, maybe with friends over the phone. How is God calling you to be praying--and praying more--during this time?
This being Mother’s Day weekend, I will now impart the traditional Mother’s Day blessing on all of our mothers and mother figures:
as a mother gives life and nourishment to her children
so you watch over your church.
Bless these women that they may be strengthened as Christian mothers.
Let the example of their faith and love shine forth.
Grant that we, their sons and daughters,
may honor them always with a spirit of profound respect.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen
One announcement: please see the cluster Facebook page. There's something there “from the Desk of Deacon Sam.” It's about a new, limited-time series on FORMED. It’s for all of us AND—I know this will excite some of you who have been praying for this—it's designed for people AWAY FROM THE CHURCH. Like I said, that’s on the Facebook page, maybe we can get it on the website, too. People don’t need a FORMED account to watch this series called The Search.
The Lord be with you.
May Almighty God bless you: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen