This past year we have experienced the deadly effects of a pandemic and each of us has suffered anxiety, isolation and the passing of loved ones. We are most certainly ready for it to be over. For those who have pursued the spiritual journey with renewed vigor, this year has seen a deepening of faith. However, far too many have lost the rhythm of regular worship. The personal encounter with Christ, the Eucharist, is in danger of becoming a distant memory.
We actually began our Lenten journey one year ago and today are well into the present 40-day liturgical cycle. Our prayer, fasting and works of charity should take on new meaning this year. The joy of Easter lies ahead! It is time to awaken, reach out to our neighbor and come back to Mass!
"The joy of Easter lies ahead! It is time to awaken, reach out to our neighbor and come back to Mass!"
As the source and summit of our Faith, the Eucharist is the center of our lives. In the extraordinary donation of His Precious Body and Blood, Jesus is our lifeline. He changes us. We all have -- and are -- stories of faith and the Eucharist takes hold and transforms our story into His story, the Story of Salvation. There are no other means by which we can truly change, or this lifeline can be grasped, than by the power of the Eucharist.
On Good Friday we will hear the Gospel of John -- the Passion of Jesus Christ. In the beginning of the reading, Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested. As he is interrogated by his persecutors, he makes a remarkable statement which is addressed to his Father, "I have not lost any of those you gave me." -- John 18:9
As Jesus begins his journey into the valley of death, he thinks first of us. He has not lost us! However, it is easy for us to lose him.
Our parishes are providing Masses to accommodate our needs for worship and to ensure that our safety concerns are addressed. It is time to make an appointment to meet Jesus at Mass. He will be there. He will be there with choirs of Angels and Saints, in humble power and service. If the Sunday Mass is already filled, you can make plans to attend one of the weekday celebrations. Let's not celebrate another Lent without the Eucharist -- our personal encounter with Christ!
"Let's not celebrate another Lent without the Eucharist -- our personal encounter with Christ!"
As we now march towards Easter, let your prayer, fasting and works of charity be directed to our joyful return. Reach out to your neighbor in charity and bring them back home. May Our Lord bless you and your families through these times. The horizon opens, Heaven dawns and the road to Easter lies ahead!
"The horizon opens, Heaven dawns and the road to Easter lies ahead!"
With love from your shepherd,
+Bishop Stephen J. Berg
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