Bear Your Hardship for the Gospel

Letters from a Pastor to His People- March 8, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

The Transfiguration is an interesting event in the life of Christ.  It's significant, certainly, but not that significant.  Or, I should say, it's not as significant as the Crucifixion or the Resurrection or the Last Supper or, even, the Sermon on the Mount.  It didn't really "do" anything, the way those other events "did" something, like redeem us or teach us a new way of living.  I suppose we could argue the Transfiguration deepened our appreciation that Jesus is divine.  Or maybe we could also say that it transfigured human nature, making it possible for us to be transfigured.

I think the lesson to take away from the Transfiguration is to keep moving.  This is a miraculous event.  Jesus floats, his body radiates, two ghosts appear alongside him (Moses and Elijah), and the voice of God speaks from heaven.  Impressive, yes, but life goes on.  Peter doesn't think so.  He wants to build a tent and remain in the moment.  This is the pinnacle to him.  They have achieved the objective, in Peter's eyes, and he wants to capture it. 

Jesus refutes this.  Yes, it is significant, but it's not the high water mark.  The apostles and Lord leave the mountain and go back to their business.  In fact, Jesus instructs them not tell anyone about it.  There is still more to encounter.  The Transfiguration is in chapter 17 of the Gospel of Matthew.  There are eleven more chapters left to read, chapters that include more miracles and parables, and of the events of the Redemption. 

Abram, in our first reading, is called by God to be the father of the chosen people.  He is 75.  This is a highly significant moment in Abram's life, but it's not the end for him.  He keeps moving forward.  There is more to do.  In fact, 25 years after this moment—when Abraham is 100—he would have Isaac with his wife Sarah.  Abraham would go on to live another 75 years after that, dying at age 175!

Think of a significant moment in your life: your wedding, the birth of your child, getting a new job or losing your job, an illness.  These are meaningful and worth appreciating, but we're not called to stop there. We've got to keep moving forward.  As St. Paul tells St. Timothy, "bear your hardship for the Gospel" (2 Tim 1:8). 

It's the same in our spiritual lives, and particularly with the sacraments.  We can't stop in 8th grade when we receive Confirmation.  We've got to keep learning and improving on how we pray.  We can’t stop growing when we go to Confession.

Keep advancing this Lent.

For our Lenten Mission this year, we will be doing a joint-Mission with our grouping parishes.  See inside the bulletin for more details, but the Mission will occur March 25, 26, and 27 at Our Lady of Hope in Rosemont.

School board will meet again this Monday night.  In case you didn't hear the news, our principal Margie Marshall will not be returning next year as our school principal.  She has taken another principal job closer to her home in the Diocese of Joliet.  We're sorry to lose Margie, as she's done a wonderful job in her two and a half years, and we wish her all the best.  Please say a prayer for us as we begin our principal search process.

Men's Club will meet Monday night.  I will be at St. Pat's High School on Tuesday to hear confessions and then at Notre Dame on Wednesday for confessions.  The Knights of Columbus St. Pat's Party is next Saturday, March 14th.   

This Sunday, March 8th is Daylight Saving Time...spring forward and set the clock ahead one hour!

Yours in Christ,

Fr. James

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