From the Pastor
Pastor Chat video reflections
March 22, 2020 (Fourth Sunday of Lent)
March 15, 2020 (Third Sunday of Lent)
March 8, 2020 (Second Sunday of Lent)
From The Pastor's Notepad
March 29, 2020
First, thanks, to all who are dropping off or mailing their contributions to our parish in this virus crisis. Thanks to all who are already doing and those who have recently signed up for ACH (electronic giving.)
Second, please send us your name and email if you did not receive email from the parish recently about how IC is making changes because of COVID-19. This allows for us to communicate timely parish updates in these rapidly changing times.
Third, thanks to all who tuned in to the live-streaming of our Sunday Mass (Sat. at 7 pm) from our Immaculate Conception Church on Facebook. It was posted at 9 am on Sunday. It was our first time and there were glitches. Thank you for your patience. It was heartening to see people actually participating live with responses!
Fourth, in the Gospel today, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing death, but in ways beyond the obvious. The death most of us are experiencing deals with feeling isolated, or not being able to continue our lives as normal, or being separated from those we love in some cases, or having to give up events that would otherwise be cause for celebration.
Jesus called Lazarus to come out, out of his state of death and destruction. He is calling us to the same, and to stay with Him as the Resurrected Lord. Through prayer we find Him calling us to light, calling us to heal brokenness wherever it might be, calling us to focus on how we might ease another’s concerns or worries. The miracle is that ,as we become the heart and hands of Jesus, He heals us in the process.
I will never know all the beautiful acts of kindness that parishioners have done/are doing for their families and others, but it will overflow as a blessing to our parish family and others. I am aware of one of the outreaches that is occurring with our parish families and all the volunteers who have stepped up to call and respond to needs. This is what holiness looks like.
Thank you good family of Immaculate Conception for your prayer and works.
Thank you, Mary, the Immaculate Conception, for your intercession for us.
Thank you Holy Spirit for energizing and guiding us.
Fr. Don, Pastor
Past columns from the Pastor's Notepad
March 22, 2020
For all of you who are sick, quarantined or self-isolated, you are especially in my prayers this week.
For all of you who are fearful, frustrated, confused or feeling alone, you also are especially in my prayers at this time.
In whatever way the coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting you or someone you love, this is the time (Lent) more than ever to examine our life, our habits and attitudes.
Maybe you have financial or medical or job or childcare or mobility worries.
This coronavirus can cause us to take stock and be more grateful for what we’ve got and more rooted in Christ for what we need.
Please contact us in your needs or the needs of others. We want to help in whatever way we can. Please let us know if we can support you in your own efforts to reach out to others, e.g. neighbor, co-worker, etc.
We are reaching out in many ways, connecting us as I.C. faith family.
Please see our Facebook or website where our bulletin is online. If you are not receiving our email, please let us know your updated email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In last week’s readings, Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well and used water as a concrete image of his spiritual wellspring of eternal life to quench our deepest thirst.
This week we hear the exciting story of the very human young blind man who is brought out of his birth-born blindness to the light of day and the bright light of Jesus. It’s a process. When asked, he first knows Jesus as a man, then a prophet, and finally calls him Lord and worships him. The young man was disbelieved, dismissed, even attacked, but through it all he stands his ground and came to love and trust Jesus and to adore him.
As always, we are called to come to know and love Christ more deeply. Even in this coronavirus time. Maybe especially in this coronavirus time.
Fr. Don, Pastor
March 15, 2020
The winter season of flu, in which we find ourselves, highlights the central role water plays in our life. Wash! Wash hands thoroughly and frequently. Another is to drink a lot of water. If we don’t stay hydrated we will be weakened and can get very sick. We need and use precious water inside and out.
In the first reading and gospel today, our physical need for water is associated with our spiritual need for God.
In the first reading, the people in the desert are thirsty and threaten to kill Moses over it. And God brings water to them, not from rain, or springs, or an oasis, or a river, but from a rock. A rock in the dry merciless desert. Despite their rejection of Him. So, in our deserts, and dryness, and trials, God will make the water flow. Trust Him. Trust Him.
In the gospel, Jesus asks the Samaritan woman for water. Expressing his own simple human need, humbly and vulnerably, he engages her in conversation and enters her world. It’s startling that such an encounter happens at all.
1) An observant Jew, like Jesus, is expected to avoid conversation with women in public.
2) She was a Samaritan, and he a Jew, deeply and historically hostile and
3) She is, as we’ll find out, an outcast among her own people.
Drinking from her cup would ritually defile him.
Yet he is there for her. His patient, kind, honest revealing of himself awakens something in her. In her dry desert of trials and rejections and wary woundedness, she becomes aware of her deep thirst, thirst for healing, compassion, God. And Jesus promises life, a “spring of water welling up to eternal life.” She believes, receives and becomes a powerful witness and evangelist, leading here whole town to experience Christ for themselves.
Lord, thank you for your patient, kind, honest love for us.
Help us realize our thirst for you. Help us believe. Help us receive. Help us lead others to you.
Fr. Don, Pastor
March 8, 2020
We go from Jesus’ brutal confrontation and rejection of the devil’s temptations in the desert the First Sunday of Lent last week to the mountaintop experience of Jesus’ Transfiguration this Second Sunday of Lent.
Jesus brings the first three apostles called to this Revealing to strengthen them in their own special trials and temptations to come. These three will be specially called to be with him at Gethsemane.
But for now, Jesus shows himself to be the new Moses, in fact the fulfillment of the Law (10 Commandments) Moses received on another mountaintop, Mt. Sinai.
How do you describe a quite startling experience of a taste of God present? Transfigured. Jesus’ divinity revealed. “His face shone like the sun.” His clothes became dazzling white.” Matthew is at a loss for words.
Peter also doesn’t quite know what he’s saying either, but it’s clear he wants it to last. It’s good to be here! Three tents! But there is more.
A voice of the Father from above solemnly proclaims the obvious: this is my beloved Son. But then adds this admonition, command, plea (whatever it takes): LISTEN TO HIM(!). Let me emphasize that point. Be prepared to “waste” time this Lent, to spend some quiet time with our loving God.
As you do so, perhaps make this a mantra throughout Lent: “Lord help me hear what you want me to hear.” As you pray quietly. But also before you go to work. At work before each client or project or meeting Before each class at school. At the checkout counter at a store. Before the start of a game and at halftime. Certainly before church, before the readings, before the Eucharistic prayer, before Communion, before the last song.
Back to Transfiguration mountain. If you feel you need a mountaintop experience, a feeling of inspiration, a feeling of comfort in a desperate hurt, a beautiful moment of silence, please ask for it. God so wants the very best for you, and he will answer accordingly.
In the end no tents are pitched. Jesus in his full humanity tells them to take this experience into their hearts to carry them through the trials, temptations, fears and crosses ahead.
So he speaks to us. So he is present with us.
Just help me hear what you want me to hear.
Fr. Don, Pastor