/ / From the Pastor’s desk—April 10, 2022

From the Pastor’s desk—April 10, 2022

Fr. Ray Smith, CMF
Parochial administrator

Dear Sacred Heart Family

Today begins our holiest time of year.  These next few days reveal the fulness of the promise God-With-Us, Emmanuel.  The events of Holy Week, like our world today, go from the promise of Glory at Palm Sunday (akin to the joy of our Olympics) to the depths of despair on Good Friday (akin to the War in Ukraine.)  This is a drama that plays out over and over again in our human world in every generation, in every life.  Through all the highs and lows, Jesus prepares us for what lies ahead and walks with us through it all. 

 This week shares the truth about God and suffering.  God does not desire suffering; it is against His plan in every sense.  At the same time, He does not turn His back on the fact He gave us free will and sometimes we use that free will for evil and selfish purposes.   If God was to undo every evil act so that none of us ever suffered, would we ever learn from our mistakes, or would we adapt to a life of spiritual entitlement?  What this week teaches us is that even God’s Son was not spared suffering and pain while in this world.  If God did not spare His own Son, can that help us see the suffering or pain in our life differently?           

Whereas we will hear the stories from Palm Sunday to the Crucifixion on Palm Sunday, there is a power in walking through each moment of this week, what we call the Triduum.   The Triduum begins with Holy Thursday, then Good Friday and Holy Saturday.  It leads to Easter Sunday, which begins for us at the Vigil Mass Saturday Evening.  If you have never come to one or all of the Triduum services, or it has been a while, this year, now that our Covid cases in Springfield are greatly reduced, is the perfect time to grow in your faith with coming to one or all of the services during Holy Week.  This is a great way to fulfill Lenten promises of putting more prayer in your life.

The first moment of Holy Week belongs to Palm Sunday where we walk with the promise of Jesus’ just rule over all of us.  Holy Thursday gives us Jesus’ last gift of Himself in the Eucharist and the call to serve one another.  Good Friday, Jesus shows us that each of us is capable of betraying our Lord and His love is stronger than suffering and death.  Holy Saturday is a day of deep reflection that God goes to reach even the dead, or the dead parts of us, to share His life.  Finally, Easter shows us the fruit of all sacrifice is new life.

Easter is a time for us to celebrate the great joy of the life we have been given.  If one were to go to only one Mass a year, it should be Easter over all other celebrations.  This is the moment God set us apart for eternal life, and as such we should set it apart for God.

With a heart for Mission,
Fr. Ray