Friday, April 13, 2018

In The Breaking Of The Bread

Dear Parishioners,

Thank you, Atlantic Maintenance Group. Again you generously donated time, materials and labor to help clean up and beautify our grounds and flower beds. We appreciate these services.

Today’s gospel uses a curious phrase as the disciples describe their encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:35-48). It tells “how they had come to know Jesus in the breaking of bread.” “The breaking of bread” was the term St. Luke used for the Eucharist or Holy Communion. He uses that term again in describing the communal life of the followers of Jesus, after the descent of the Holy Spirit, “who devoted themselves to the apostle’s instruction and communal life, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42) In other words, they regularly gathered for Mass. These gatherings were essential for the building up of the Church and the faith of Jesus’ followers.

The old Baltimore catechism asked “Why did God make me?” The response was “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world so as to be happy with him in the next world.” We can read and study for years about God, but to know Him personally and intimately we need the Eucharist, we need the “breaking of bread.” In the early Church, Christians understood this and were willing to die rather than give up the Eucharist. Today so many Catholics find other things more important. How sad, how foolish, how suicidal!

In the next few weeks, our young boys and girls will be receiving their first communion. Let us pray they will continue growing in their relationships with Jesus and “come to know Jesus in the breaking of bread.”

Father Carl

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Divine Mercy

Dear Parishioners,

As we allow the reflection of God’s mercy and love to continue to brighten us in the afterglow of Easter, we are given another gift in the second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday. This important day was set aside by St. John Paul II in 2000 in the light of the canonization of Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska. This Polish nun received revelations from God concerning His mercy that needed to be proclaimed to all peoples. In His communication with her, God made clear the need to set aside a day to reflect on God’s deep gift of mercy that can overcome even the most hideous sin. In her diary, she wrote of God that this day may “be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My mercy… let no soul fear to draw near to me.

The quality of mercy is evident abundantly in the Old and New Testaments. Psalm 118 states, “Let the house of Israel say, ‘His mercy endures forever.’ Let the house of Aaron say, ‘His mercy endures forever.’ Let those who fear the LORD say, ‘His mercy endures forever.’” God’s mercy follows the actions of the Old Testament prophets who urge Israel to repent and return to God who takes them back in his mercy. God’s mercy is powerfully reflected in the love of the Father who runs to welcome back the especially sinful Prodigal Son. Jesus himself in Matthew raises mercy to the heights in the Sermon on the Mount when he says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Christ in his life, death, and resurrection bears complete obedience to God’s mercy toward us. Let us be mindful of God’s mercy this day and the undeserved gift of His love. As we go through our day, let us thank our God and remember that we are to “Be merciful just as your father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36)

Deacon Steve