This weekend we welcome Father Randy Kelly as we celebrate the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. We are pleased to have Father Randy celebrate Mass for us while Father Jim is away.
The Gospel passage this Sunday is a familiar story. Jesus invites Simon Peter and the others in the boat with him to go into deep water and lower their nets for a catch. Even though they are a bit skeptical, they do what Jesus commands. Much to their surprise, their nets are filled to the breaking point. Something they were “working hard at all night long” without success becomes a fruitful experience with Jesus pointing the way. He tells them not to be afraid because from now on they “will be catching men.” Have you ever had one of those long busy days when you were constantly “on the go,” yet at the end of the day felt like you had nothing tangible to show for it? The day may have been all about serving the Lord yet he may not even have been invited into your “boat”: your work, meetings, ministry, and comings and goings that day. Or have you ever had a very full day and found yourself turning to the Holy Spirit for guidance or asking for God’s grace and help in a given situation? Those days may have been long and tiring yet spiritually fulfilling as well. Finally, have you ever had one of those days when Christ surprised you with his presence and made a difficult task become easier, because you allowed him to work through you? Sometimes, in making our labors more fruitful and our burdens lighter, Christ is asking us to change some of the ways in which we approach things. Just as the disciples “worked hard all night and caught nothing,” they followed the command of Jesus to do a familiar task anew, his way. Many of us may have been doing something the same way for a number of years and Jesus may be asking us to move in a new direction. It takes trust and faith in God to change our hearts, to change our ways, to try new things. When we take a leap of faith and take to heart the words of Christ, we may be amazed at the wonders he accomplishes through us. What do you think Jesus is asking of us as a parish and the Church at this point in our history? How can we be part of his ministry of “catching men”’?
Don’t forget the paczki sale on Monday and Tuesday. To all those who are helping out in any way beginning Sunday afternoon with the laying of cardboard, to making and selling paczki on Monday, to helping out on Tuesday, to cleaning up afterwards, and to making dishes for the workers: your generosity of time is truly appreciated. Because of you, I am sure that the paczki sale will be a great success. Have a Happy Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday)!
Lent begins this Wednesday. Please note that there are two Masses on Ash Wednesday. One is at 8:30 AM at Saint John Paul II Parish Church. The other is at 7:00 PM at the Saint Matthew Church site. Please see the insert in today’s bulletin listing the rules and regulations for fasting and abstinence, prayer and retreat opportunities along with a schedule for the sacrament of Penance (both individual and communal). Also included on the insert are opportunities for Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament on the Sundays of Lent and Stations of the Cross on the Fridays of Lent in addition to our regularly scheduled weekday Masses. Stations of the Cross begin a week from Friday, February 19.
Little Black Books, for your spiritual enrichment this Lenten Season, are available this weekend at each of the church entrances. Also, please check out the pamphlet rack in the main entrance of church for supplemental Lenten materials.
Don’t forget that the book discussions continue this Monday, February 8 on The Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis. Discussion begins at 6:30 PM in the Library at the Parish Center Office Building on Carla Drive. If you did not receive a copy of the book this Christmas and would like one, there are still some available both in church and at the Parish Office Center. Talk to either Amy or me if you would like one.
Let us enter into a Happy and Holy Lenten Season this Wednesday. Let us keep in mind the Year of Mercy as we decide what we may do in addition to our prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We might want to consider the Works of Mercy.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ