Dear Brothers & Sisters,
For a long time, we prayed for the arrival of the vaccine and pinned our hopes of a return to normal life on being vaccinated. Now that many of us have already been vaccinated, we’ve probably learned that the vaccine is no magic cure to fix everything and to restore normalcy to our lives.
In the course of a year, all of us have been touched by fear, whether the fear of getting infected with the virus or the fear of infecting others. Fear became the new name for prudence, and we allowed it to redefine our relationships, what we can and cannot do. I hope that we have all realized by now that, just as we must remain prudent, careful and respectful of others, we also need to return to the public square, to take the first steps and regain our place at home and in society, lest fear paralyze and prevent us from living. Pandemics are a part of our past history, and they are also providential times to experience the power of God. Just over a week ago during the Easter Proclamation, we sang “The splendor of the King has conquered darkness, the darkness of the world”! Today, the Church sings that song because if we have died with Christ and, through baptism have been immersed in a death like his, then we also fully share in his resurrection, which is the ultimate triumph over all fears, especially over the fear of sin and death.
Although this is beautiful and constitutes the core of our faith, it is not enough to know this intellectually, as if knowledge can save us, without an experience of the love of God. As the Easter liturgy says, we need to retrace Jesus’ steps from the beginning, return to Galilee where he will “precede” us, to experience the sweetness, the faithfulness and the mercy of God!
This is why starting this week every Monday and Thursday, our parish will offer a series of talks to help us assimilate the essence of our faith and to enlighten our path to holiness. In the Easter Vigil we renewed our baptismal promises, and the aim of these talks is to help us rediscover our baptism. There are many graces in the Christian life, in marriage, in the priesthood, but only one door into divine life, and that is baptism that makes us children of God and shareholders of divine life. When faced with trials and sufferings in life, we pray sometimes for God to remove them from our lives, or to bail us out of those sufferings! Unlike the Virgin Mary, who believed that all things are possible for God, we struggle to see how is it possible to be happy and joyful in suffering, without despairing or losing hope. And while it’s comforting to know that even the apostles doubted of the resurrection of Christ and, for fear of being persecuted like their Master locked themselves in a room, unless we encounter the risen Lord we too will never break free of our fears and overcome our doubts. These talks will be like the risen Lord that breaks through the door of our fears and, showing us the glorious wounds in his hands says, “Peace be with you!” Without this moment of grace, there would be no Church, no announcement of the Gospel, no Peter, no martyrs, no faith, and no possibility of eternal life through the forgiveness of our sins.
Therefore, as the shepherd appointed by the Lord to guide this flock, I invite you to come and listen. The talks will be given in the church on Mondays and Thursdays at 7:30PM. Come alone or with someone – and please help me to share this invite with others whom I cannot reach. There is no need to register. The Lord is passing and I hope that we can all see him!
Father Steven Clemence