Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
There are a couple of “parish” things to share with you this morning, but before that, let me tell you how much I look forward to sitting down each week to write these few lines to all of you. I so greatly enjoy hearing back from you, and even though I don’t/can’t respond to all of your responses, please know I read each of them (oftentimes, several times over!). Your own insights into the scriptures and the ways in which you encourage me are deeply valued. Jesus’s prayer in John 17 says, “Father, they are your gift to me.” He was speaking about the close and tender relationship which He had with his disciples, and I have to admit that oftentimes the sentiment he expresses in this one sentence rests in my heart when I think of you. I thank God that you are His gift to me.
We have been asked by the St. Vincent de Paul volunteers to remind all of you that they will be taking food donations on the first weekend of each month. That means their blue barrels will be available both at the Saturday afternoon drive-through reception of Holy Communion at 5:00 p.m. as well as at both of the Sunday a.m. Masses. For the month of March, the barrels will be set out on the 6th and 7th. As always, I invite your prayerful generosity.
A few people have been using the mail slot in the main office door on weekends to make their monetary offerings. This is rather risky since our parish office is being watched all the time. Apparently, some of those envelopes have fallen between the security door and the wooden door, and somehow somebody has been able to steal them out of there. Please, may I ask to NOT slip your envelopes through the door? You have several other options instead. First, just drop your envelope in the basket that is offered to you during the drive-through on Saturdays or in the baskets that are available at both the west-side doors of the church after Sunday Mass. Second, bring your envelope to the parish office during regular office hours during the week and hand it to somebody here in the office. Finally, you can place your envelope in the metal wall-mounted mailbox that is just to the left of the main office door. We check that box regularly, so you don’t have to be concerned about your envelope being retrieved and its contents being counted. The box is as secure as possible, so please don’t hesitate to use it. Again, please do not slip your offertory envelopes through the mail slot in the door; it’s just too risky.
Biblical scholars and theologians have pondered our Gospel reading this weekend for generations. They have come up with all sorts of interpretations for the meaning and purpose of the Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-10), and while there is so much that can be gleaned from their thoughts and reflections, at the end of the day, the mystery of this event still leaves almost all of them mystified. I’m not faulting their efforts at all, but I’m wondering today if the whole point of the Transfiguration was for those three men who accompanied Jesus up the mountain to actually hear the voice of God above all other voices and to pay attention to what He was telling them. I’ve asked myself again this morning, “Who am I listening to? Who am I listening for?” There are so many competing voices out there that are constantly trying to grab our attention and point us in directions which oftentimes are contrary to the direction which leads to our salvation. I never realized this before, but Peter was actually one of those distracting voices. Here is this incredible scene playing out before him and the other two disciples, a scene which should have just struck them mute due to its awesomeness. Yet, Peter comes up with this fantastic idea to make the place a shrine. He is a distraction to those with him while the scene itself is trying to speak to his heart. Have you ever had that happen to you? Perhaps you find yourself in a situation where God is trying so desperately to speak to you, and yet your internal voices are almost in competition with Him, trying to shout Him down with your own thoughts and plans. God finally breaks through all of this internal and external noise and says, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” God was trying to say, “This is the One Who speaks my heart, Who speaks my will. Be still! Listen to Him. His is my voice.” This message is so important for us during the season of Lent. Lent is a time to get quiet and listen for the voice of God’s heart speaking to our hearts again. However, if we don’t sanctify this season by finding times of quiet reflection, we will not gain the benefits that can come to us as we discipline ourselves in the exercises of quietness. I pray God’s deepest blessings upon you all in this season, but I cannot make you be quiet so that you can personally hear what He wants to say to you in particular. That’s your discipline. That’s your choice. Psalm 46:10 says:
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
Be still, and be listening.
May our loving Father bestow His richest blessings upon you!
Your brother in Christ,