Persevere. Be Disappointing.

 

Letters from a Pastor to His People- March 1, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

You are a disappointment.

If you're still reading...I am a disappointment.

Yes, disappointments.  This is what Catholics are called to be, especially during the season of Lent.  We follow after the who first disappointed—Jesus Christ. 

In this duel in the desert with the devil, Jesus disappoints Satan three times.  The final temptation--to rule the world--was probably the hardest disappointment for Jesus to receive.  The temptation, and subsequent disappointment, is an attack at Jesus' messiahship.  Satan tempts Jesus to be a worldly, powerful ruler.  Jesus could unite the Israelite tribes, end hunger and poverty, and bring world peace.  He says no.  He trusts the Father.

It is said that in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus saw all the sins of the past, present, and future of the world.  Those sins were pressed upon him, which is why he sweated blood, so intense was that agony.  I bet something similar happened in this third temptation.  All the requests of the past, present, and future for God to do something (cure this cancer, get me this job, help my child) flashed before his eyes.  Yes, he could exercise his power and do everything.  But would that be good for us in the end, losing free will and witnessing Jesus' lack of trust in the Father?

So Jesus disappoints Satan.  He disappoints us.  He disappoints millions in the history of the world who wanted God to perform a miracle of power. 

But God the Father wasn't disappointed, and He's the only one that matters.

Adam and Eve struggle to be disappointments.  They want to please.  They don't disappoint Satan and cause the fall of humankind.

I would argue, brothers and sisters, that if we are good Catholics, then we will be disappointments to people outside the walls of this church.  When you go to a party on Friday night and you say no to the wine because you gave it up for Lent, you will disappoint your hosts.  Young people, if you give up social media for Lent and don't respond to every tweet and Instagram post, you will disappoint some people, including your friends.  Families, if you say no to all the travel sports on Sunday and instead come to Mass, you will disappoint some members of society. 

Persevere! Be disappointing.  It's good to be disappointing.  Because you're not disappointing to God the Father, and He's the only one that matters.

Every saint was a disappointment.  They let down friends or family members--people who had certain expectations of them, expectations that were not God's.  Let me give you the example of one: Saint Katherine Drexel.  Her feast day is on Tuesday—March 3.  Read about her life.  Daughter of a wealthy Philadelphia banker, she walked away from her enormous inheritance and became a nun.  She was the second American-born saint to be canonized.

Let us strive to be disappointments this Lent.  Because ultimately it will mean we are not disappointments in the Father's eyes, and he's all that matters.

The Cub Scout Pancake Breakfast is this Sunday, March 1st all morning in the school hall.  School board will meet Monday, and the Knights of Columbus have their meeting Wednesday evening.  And, again, Friday for Lent we will have all day Eucharistic Adoration in the chapel, and Stations of the Cross both at 9am (church) and 6pm (chapel).

The recently started Saint Juliana Book Club will have its second meeting next Saturday, March 7th at 9:30am in the back parish center meeting rooms.  The book is The Road by Cormac McCarthy—a cheerful read.  Hope to see you there.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. James

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