04-09-2023From the Pastor's DeskMonsignor Ellsworth R. Walden

Happy Easter! How good it is to be alive, to be loved, and to be a source of love for those entrusted to our care and presence. Every day there are challenges and opportunities to rise beyond our own concerns and needs and be a positive force for others. Life is a gift. To see life as a gift is to “rise” above and beyond feelings of entitlement, ignorance, a desire to be in control, anger, disappointment, and a host of so many other negative feelings. It is not always easy to see the goodness and need for love in others and ourselves. Our society is bursting with reports of the faults and failures of public and not so public people. The almost blasé verse from Ecclesiastes 1:9 comes to mind: “What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun!”

Jesus was born into a world that was in turmoil. Bethlehem was too crowded for Him to be born in a room in the inn, so He was born in a stable. In John 1:45-46 we have these skeptical words: “Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus came into a violent and troubled world. Surely the quote above from Ecclesiastes 1:9 in many ways is as true today as it was more than 2,000 years ago. Jesus rose above all those who sought to discredit and reject Him far before He literally rose from the dead. In Him we see the source of life and strength we all need to rise above rejection, abandonment, injustice, and disappointment - He rose above the power of sin that seeks to separate us from God and one another. Sin is a reality that tears us apart personally and puts us at odds and in competition with one another. Jesus rose above sin and negativity to love, forgive, and offer to walk with us daily in our life’s journey. We are all unique but we are all in need of God because we have been created in His very image and likeness. To be like Him can only happen if and when we carry and walk with Him in our hearts every day. He is not an inhibiting or constraining presence but a freeing, inspiring, creative, and energizing presence. Jesus did not rise just to show us His power over sin and death but to open the Way for us hopefully and lovingly in our daily lives. What and who do I have to rise above to find His peace, love, and mercy? I can only rise by putting aside the temptation to seek to be in control of everything and everyone and let Jesus and His Holy Spirit illumine my thoughts, words, and actions. Faith is growing and living with confidence, courage, and humility as Jesus did and wants to do with us. 

May we always rise to see what a gift life is and that everyone and every day is a gift to be loved by God and share His love and mercy with one another.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,
to revive my drooping spirit.

He guides me along the right path;
he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff;
with these you give me comfort.

You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord's own house shall I dwell
for ever and ever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and every shall be.

Psalm Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Shepherd of your Church, you give us new birth in the waters of Baptism; you anoint us with oil, and call us to salvation at your table. Dispel the terrors of death and the darkness of error. Lead your people along safe paths, that they may rest securely in you and live for ever in your Father's house.