A newly arrived soul in Heaven was met by St. Peter. The saint toured the soul around Heaven. Both of them walked side by side inside a large workroom filled with angels. St. Peter stopped in front of the first section and said, “This is the Receiving Section. Here, all the petitions to God said in prayer are received.” The soul looked at the section, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets from all the people of the world. They walked again until they reached the second section, and St. Peter told the soul, “This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are packed and delivered to the persons who asked for them down on earth.” The soul saw how busy it was. There were so many angels working in that room, since so many blessing were being packed and delivered to Earth. Finally at the farthest corner of the room, the soul stopped at the last section. To the surprise of the soul, only one angel stayed there idly, doing nothing. “This is the Acknowledging Section,” St. Peter told the soul. “How is it that, there is no work here?” “That’s the sad thing,” St. Peter answered. “After the people received the blessings they asked for, very few send their acknowledgments.” “How does one acknowledge God’s blessing?” “Simple,” St. Peter answered. “Just pray, “‘Thank you, Lord’.”
It was a beautiful Sunday morning. People were filling the church to its full capacity! As they entered, each were given a bulletin filled with announcements, topic of today’s sermon, what songs they would sing and who to pray for. At the end of the line stood an older man. His clothes were filthy and you could tell that he had not bathed in days. His face was covered with whiskers, for he had not shaved for a very long time. When he reached the usher, he removed his tattered old brown hat in respect. His hair was long, dirty, and a tangled mess. He had no shoes on his feet, and wore only soiled black socks to cover the sores upon his feet. The Usher looked at him turning up his nose at the old man and said, “Uh, I’m sorry sir, but I’m afraid we can’t let you in. You will distract the congregation and we don’t allow anyone to disrupt our Mass. I’m afraid you’ll have to leave.” The old man looked down at himself and with a puzzled look on his face, he placed his old brown hat back upon his head and turned to leave. He was sad as he loved to hear the choir sing praises to the Lord. He loved to watch the little children get up in front of the church to sing their little songs. He carried in his pocket a small worn out rosary and loved to see if the priest preached a passage about Our Lady or the Saints. But he was respectful, and didn’t want to cause any commotion, so he hung down his head and walked back down the steps of the big brick church. He sat down on the brick wall near the edge of the church yard and strained to listen through closed doors and windows to the singing going on in the church. Oh how he wished he could be inside with all the others. A few minutes had passed by when all of a sudden a younger man came up behind him and sat down near him. He asked the old man what he was doing? He answered, “I was going to go to church today, but they thought I was to filthy, my clothes to old and worn, and they were afraid I would disrupt their Mass. Sorry, I didn’t introduce myself. My name is George.” The two men shook hands, and George couldn’t help but notice that this man had long hair like his. He wore a piece of cloth draped over his body tied with a royal purple sash. He had sandals on his feet, now covered with dust and dirt. The stranger touched George’s shoulder, and said: “George, don’t feel bad because they won’t let you in. My name is Jesus, and I’ve been trying to get into this same church for years — they won’t let me in either.”
Wednesday, 26th March 7.30pm-9.00pm at the Shrine, St John Fisher’s Kearsley. Fr. Duncan will lead us in the meditation on Salt, Light and Leaven followed by time for discussion and questions and we will finish with light refreshments.
Every Christian is called today to be light, salt and leaven. However, there are still only a few Catholics who really commit themselves to evangelisation. When we speak about evangelisation we are speaking about renewing, with the face of Christ, the culture in which we live. This means, it will affect our choices and decisions, it will affect the values we hold dear, it will affect the way we live, our priorities, the things that interest us or do not interest us; and it should also affect our thoughts and our thinking; it should be the inspirational source of life and motivation for any life of faith. For this reason, it is important to evangelise not in the sense of a “superficial varnish” but really to get to the depths of today’s culture, and heal the world through the power of love.
The Church provides the faithful with a marvelous opportunity and a distinctive journey for spiritual growth and conversion during the penitential season of Lent. Pope John Paul II said, “The time of Lent is a special time for purification and penance, as to allow Our Saviour to make us his neighbor and save us by his love” (“Message of His Holiness John Paul II for Lent,” 1982). Pope Benedict XVI reminded us what Lent is for: “It means accompany-ing Jesus as he travels to Jerusalem, the place where the mystery of his passion, death and resurrection is to be fulfilled” (Wednesday audience, March 9, 2011). In his first message for Lent, Pope Francis concentrated on the poverty of Christ in becoming man, underscoring our duty to give equal loving witness in our care for the poor in our midst. Pope Francis explained that “Lent is a fitting time for self-denial,” and “we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty.” He also reminded us in his 2014 Lenten message, “Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: No self-denial is real without this dimension of penance.” (Feb. 4 press conference). I am reminded of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, who also made note of the pain and suffering endured in wholeheartedly loving and serving. She said to me once, “I know it is not always easy to love. But when you love till it hurts, there is no more hurt, but only more love.” Parents are called by God to be the first and foremost educators of their children and can tremendously help to spiritually guide their domestic churches throughout Lent. You will participate more fully with the rhythm of the Church by setting examples for your family’s Lenten spiritual practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Try your best to retreat from the busyness of the world and carve out meaningful prayer time within your “Church in miniature” – your home. Gather your family each day, and set the tone with simple prayers and activities. Encourage your family to make this Lent their best ever by taking more time to reflect on Church teaching, put their faith into practice and retreat from the negative culture as much as possible during these forty days of spiritual growth. Give children practical suggestions they can carry out to fulfill Pope Francis’ encouragement to reach out in love to the poor. Explain to your children that the poor are not merely the homeless or poverty-stricken people; they might be people at school or in the neighbourhood who are starving for love. Ask children to venture out of their comfort zones to offer a kind word or gesture.Discuss ideas together that you’ll carry out as a family, calling to mind that, together, you can collectively grow in holiness as you accompany Our Lord during these Lenten days.
[from Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle]
Blessings on him who comes
in the name of the Lord!
On Palm Sunday the long reading of the Passion dominates the celebration, and in a sense its meaning is obvious. Do not allow this, however, to detract from the other readings, which give the vital context necessary for understanding the Passion as more than just a long story. It is our story – the tale of how God achieved OUR salvation by the supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
This initiative was an invite to all men who would like to attend holy Mass once monthly on the first Saturday of the Month. Afterward the men share a simple breakfast before returning to work or home. You are very welcome to join in this Mass.
Welcome to our Covenant Mass this evening on Tuesday 18th March at 7.30pm. Holy Mass is prepared by our Cenacle Group and the main celebrant will be Father Duncan The St Edmund’s Music Group will accompany out celebration of Holy Mass. The Theme for tonight’s Mass is “Your are Salt, Light and Leaven”.