Fr. Daniel Gifford
The Love In His Heart
The Father spoke at the Baptism: “This is My Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Then, He was taken to the desert, where those words might have echoed in the emptiness, stillness, and quiet, only to be tempted by the devil to doubt them (1st Sunday of Lent, Gospel). He spoke again at Mount Tabor (2nd Sunday), identifying His
Beloved Son once more, but adding the command “Listen to Him,” so that He might lead them on the journey to Jerusalem, the journey to the Cross. On this journey, He would urge them to trust the Father, not to seek signs, but to be satisfied in being known and loved by Him, and He would teach them to call on Him in prayer as “Our Father.” These teachings would include beckoning them to return their hearts to Him (this weekend). As He teaches in parables, He will reveal the Father’s Merciful Heart even more clearly (next weekend). The Father has been ever-present along this journey, which is leading to the definitive revelation of His Merciful Heart, at the Cross. It is fitting, on this Lenten journey in which Christ teaches us to trust the Father, that we take time out to honor the man to whom Christ Himself looked and called “father”: Saint Joseph. This past Tuesday, the Church celebrated one of two great Solemnities that usually fall during Lent: the Feast of Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary. This humble carpenter was given the truly awesome task of being a genuine human father (even though not biologically) to God Himself! As the title of the March feast day (he has another in May) indicates, part of how he lives out this daunting vocation is by faithfully devoting himself to his bride, none other than the Blessed Virgin Mary, chosen by God from her Immaculate Conception to carry God in her womb. This task is so great that only one as humble as Joseph could have carried it out. Before His public ministry began, Jesus had many years to watch and observe how Joseph loved and served his bride. When He takes up His cross, it will be His time to lay down His life for the beloved bride, whom the Father promised He would espouse to Himself forever (see Hosea, chapters 1-3). The faithful women of Jerusalem, whom He meets along the way as portrayed in Luke’s Gospel and in the Eighth Station (front cover) stand as a symbol of the bride for whom He is laying down His life… the bride who has been unfaithful and rejected Him. These women stand for the faithful remnant, but they are still members of the bride who has turned her heart away. And for generations to come, the ones for whom He came to lay down His life will still stubbornly turn their hearts away. Thus, He will tell the faithful ones: “Do not weep for Me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children.” May St. Joseph pray for us, that we may be humble enough to allow the Lord to show us the true love found in the Merciful Heart of the Father, that we may reveal this beautiful gift and mystery to the generations to come!
LENTEN SERIES, CENTERPIECE: This week is the only week until Holy Week when we won’t have a class for Learning to Listen to the Voice of God. Instead, our centerpiece consists of two events that help us to make our time with Christ in the desert more fruitful. On Wednesday (3/27) we will have our Lenten Holy Hour with Confessions at 7 PM. Then, on Friday, our weekly Stations of the Cross will be a special one. We will have some of our children help guide us through the Children’s Stations of the Cross, then all are welcome to head over to the hall for our second annual Lenten Simple Supper. I hope you can join us for one or both of these great events, which help us open our hearts to our Loving and Merciful Father, as we recall our identity as His children.
GREENHOUSE: This week, as you might have already seen mentioned, our Parish Greenhouse will begin its classes! I just wanted to offer a word of gratitude to those parishioners who responded to the invitation to be involved. It has been truly beautiful to see the response of a number of our parishioners who have come ready to offer their time and talent to this project, which has been a great opportunity for our children. I look forward to seeing how the future of this opportunity continues to grow!
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!