From the Pastor
“I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.”
During this bleak time of the pandemic these words may seem hollow. Where can we actually see the good things of the Lord? When will we be able to do everything just as we had done in the very recent past? How will we be able to live as before? We are continually confronted by the problems created by one of God’s smallest creatures – a virus. And we, the best of all creatures, are confounded by the workings of this minute organism. Where are those good things? Are they just the promise of heaven, whenever we may arrive there? Do we have to “tough it out” here in order to receive the reward hereafter?
When Philip asked Jesus to let the apostles see the Father, He questioned Philip, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and still you do not understand? If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” Have we been with Jesus all this time (the whole of our lives for most of us) and still we cannot see the good things of the Lord? They are all there, in that same living person, Jesus.
Jesus is everything to us, quite literally. In Him do we find the image of God, the love, mercy and understanding of God, not as coming from a philosopher or an academic paper, but from God, Himself! He has described the kind of world that He wants for us, not merely as a possibility but as a project to be completed – by us! Look beyond the evils of the day and ask what is needed here or there. You will find that the answer lies in the descriptive words of Jesus – love your neighbor as yourself. The answer to our present problems is not simply in a vaccine for the virus – as significant as that may be – but rather in the strong, vibrant faith of the individual follower of Jesus – us. We carry around in our hearts the answer to the problems of mankind. When the virus has diminished, there will still be hunger, hatred, prejudice, inequality, etc.
Do we really want the good things of the Lord – here, on earth? Then we must open our eyes and recognize the answer before us: we must be peace in the midst of war; we must be love in the face of violence; we must be hope in the face of despair; we must be self-sacrifice for the oppressed; we must be home for the homeless!
To do this we must not be distracted. We must stay focused on Jesus!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Happy Easter to everyone! Now each of us must ask ourselves the question – “Has Easter changed us this year? How has it changed us? Or did it just slip by?”
Easter tells that world that we are part of a new life, a new lifestyle, with new goals and strengths and vision. It does not just speak of a day in the past when this Jesus rose from the dead, as though that were all that is involved in the celebration. If that were the case, would there really be any reason for us to be excited about one man rising from the dead? None! We say that we are also part of His new Life – that we are united to Him, personally, not simply institutionally – that as St. Paul tells us that we are already one with Him in glory.
How will we live that glory; how will we explain what that glory is; how will anyone else come to understand our new situation, our new lifestyle – except that we act differently from what we were before Easter. That is how we, human beings, communicate the most important thing about ourselves – by acting them out. Our lives become the most basic and dynamic tools for telling someone else about what is happening in our hearts – not just a philosophy about life, but what is really occurring in the inmost recesses of our characters, what has begun to burn away the callous characterizations of others that have allowed us to ignore their needs or their human dignity, or that have caused us to consider our good more important than the good of others (…love your neighbor as yourself…).
All should see that we are changed and that the model of that alteration is Jesus, Himself. Nothing short of that! That is what Easter is all about. If He were dead and gone, we could not be like Him. But He is not dead! He is alive! Therefore, we can be united with Him in this life, and be like Him, and love like Him, and hold the needy in our arms like Him, and address the pain of others like Him, and embrace the rejected of the world like Him, and give hope to those cast to the periphery of life like Him. We can do all things like Him because we live in Him!
That is Easter! But is it happening in us? During the coronavirus troubles, we see the human condition as vulnerable – because of the sickness; but also powerful – in its ability to sacrifice for others. Now, if we consciously keep Easter vibrant and active in our hearts and allow that life to grow throughout the course of our future, we will begin to see the real power of our Easter celebration – what the whole world can be like with Jesus!
Some Actual Costs – How did we get here?
Each Sunday we publish the previous Sunday’s collection. This is doing so that the parishioners can get a better idea of just how well (or poorly) the parish is doing with its finances. It is primarily from this collection, among other kinds of contributions, that we have the financial ability to continue running the parish. Without this continuing support we are “dead in the water”. We can’t pay our bills with kind hearts, and well intentioned prayers – only $$$ will work.
Church and school income vs expenses (for the example take the last six years 2011 thru 2016)
Collections = $2,262,993
Expenses = $1,580,082
Income (tuition) = $4,603,558
Other income = $687,539
Total income = $5,291,097
Expenses = $6,403,898
Deficit – $1,112,801
Where do we go from here in order to keep the parish and the school “alive and well”?