While browsing the card section at our local Pharmacy, I couldn’t help but notice how large the “Birthday Card” section was to all the others. Although you can also find a sizable quantity of specialty cards for particular celebrations like Valentine’s Day etc., and at least a few on the occasion of: “Sympathy,” “Thank You,” “Congratulations,” “Wedding,” “New Baby,” “Retirement,” etc. the smallest section containing but a few selections would be the category of “Encouragement.” Now, I realize that such things are driven by the market of supply and demand, however it seems to me that messages of encouragement are in short supply currently in our world. This weekend the Church lays before us scriptures that lend “Encouragement.” From the Book of Genesis, the first reading are words of encouragement from God to Abram. “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can.
Just so, shall your descendants be” Genesis 15:5. This is a grand message of hope especially since Abram’s wife and he are up in age and have no children as of yet. Each of the three synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke contain a version of the transfiguration story we study this weekend from Luke. Let not the fact escape us that Jesus with Peter, James and John ascended the mountain to an out of the way place to pray; that is have “conversation with God who loves us” as St. Teresa would say. It is within this context of prayer, just like after Jesus was baptized, that affirmative strength is found. This time it is a vision of Moses and Elijah who meet with Jesus and a voice from above to the disciples: “This is my chosen Son; listen to him” Luke 9:35. These instances are messages of encouragement: for Jesus, it affirms and strengthens His personal identity and mission; for the disciples, it strengthens their faith in this type of Messiah leader especially for what they will have to endure on their arrival into Jerusalem. May God, work through us to give messages of encouragement during this Lenten time especially to people who need it the most.
FOR THE FIRST HUNDRED YEARS OF OUR HISTORY here in America, we were a Mission country. Our faith was brought to us by many European Missionaries. For the second hundred years of our history, we were a Missionary Sending Country. Many from our Church countrywide braved uncharted territories abroad. Now forty years in our country’s third centenary, we are reaping the benefits of our successful mission ministry, as many come back to America from formerly mission lands to supply our spiritual needs. In a special way we give thanks to God especially for those foreign born men who have heard the Lord’s call, left their family and friends behind and come to the US to answer God’s call in the Diocese of Buffalo. Two such examples: Fr. Ryszard Biernat, the Bishop’s Secretary, and our very own Fr. Daniel Ogbeifun. We thank them and all who have come to answer God’s call.
WE’LL LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON FOR YOU…. In most of all Catholic Churches throughout the Diocese of Buffalo, confessions will be available every Wednesday during our Lenten Season from Ash Wednesday to Holy Week at 5:00PM to 7:00PM. At each of our three churches: St. Martin de Porres, St. Lawrence, and Nativity we’ll be leaving the “Lights on for YOU!” At St. Lawrence and St. Martins we also have Adoration of the Holy Eucharist at this time. Come and allow Jesus to save you from your sins.
THE CCCB: CATHOLIC CHURCHES OF CENTRAL BUFFALO each Lenten Season host a Pilgrimage of Masses. These are held on consecutive Monday evenings beginning at 6:30PM rotating at each Parish and Ministry within the region. The Pilgrimage continues with Mass on Monday, February 22nd at 6:30PM at SS. Columba Brigid, Clinton and Hickory Streets, Buffalo, NY. Celebrant: Fr. Roy Herberger. Refreshments and Fellowship will follow. All are welcome.