In the mid 1990s the Lord laid upon me a ministry to new African families arriving in Buffalo which evolved into the ROTA: Reaching Out 2 Africa Ministry. In more than a few discussions with new comers to America assisting with their American orientation I would have to point out elements of our legal system; specifically what is lawful and unlawful according to our system of law. One such instant was when I was called by a landlord to assist a new family before the police would get involved. It appears that the oldest, first born son, secured a branch from a tree and was apparently beating the younger children. What was a case of the village’s first born job of family disciplinarian would be misperceived as child abuse. While reflecting on this with the parents the father of the family commented, “they call America the land of the free but there seems to be a law against everything.” This weekend’s Biblical lessons begin with the Book of Exodus in which we are presented with a review of God’s law, the Ten Commandments. The Gospel of John chapter two contains the familiar story of the “cleansing of the temple.” But how are both readings connected? At the time of Jesus great efforts were made by local Rabbis to assist people in following the Ten Commandments in everyday life. The result was over six hundred laws which one should obey to do so properly; a law for practically everything. These pertained to the worship of God in Jerusalem’s temple as well and the temple economy responded with the business of buying and selling animals for various sin offerings etc. When Jesus comes and causes disruption of the very business that is assisting people to obey the laws people took notice. “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s House a marketplace” John 2:16. By His actions Jesus indicates a move from a First Covenantal form of worship to a New Covenantal worship of God in Spirit and Truth. The Passover Lamb of Sacrifice that would usher in this New Covenant would be His own Body and Blood on the Cross of Calvary. Contemporarily, the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council could be likened to a similar event in the life of the Catholic Church. The challenge was a move from a “fear of hell” driven obedience to multiple laws and regulations to a more intentional purpose driven movement toward God and His Church. We are all called to be Intentional Disciples. We are called from a “follow the rules” mentality to a purpose driven “intentional disciple” mentality. Let us walk each day as awake, intentional disciples of Jesus.
2018 LENTEN CHALLENGE: CHRISTIAN SABBATH RESTORATION Have you been rising up to the challenge? Let’s restore “The Lord’s Day.”
ST. LAWRENCE/ST. JOSEPH DAY TABLE CELEBRATION will take place on Monday, March 19 th beginning at 5:00PM in the parish hall. Featured will be traditional meatless foods and donations for local ministries. The Lenten Journey Mass for the Feast of St. Joseph will follow at 6:30PM or so in the Church.
ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER AWARD Every four to five years parish pastors are welcomed to nominate an individual who has displayed great commitment to their parish community by their life of service. This year all three of our parishes are in the same cycle and so on Sunday, March 11 th at the 12Noon Mass in St. Joseph’s Cathedral the following will be honored and receive the “St. Joseph the Worker” award from Bishop Malone. From Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary: James Sheehan; from St. Lawrence: Joseph Strusienski; and from St. Martin de Porres: Joseph Bugman. Hors D’oeuvres will follow the Mass and ceremony at the Templeton Landing. Congratulations!
SISTER PARISH HOLY WEEK CELEBRATIONS
PALM SUNDAY – ST. MARTIN DE PORRES NEIGHBORHOOD PASSION WALK
Sunday, March 25 th at 9:30AM – Procession takes about an hour. Dress accordingly. Provisions made for active participation in the Church for those unable to walk the procession.
HOLY THURSDAY – FRIENDSHIP SUPPER & MASS AT ST. MARTIN DE PORRES
Thursday, March 29 th 5:00PM Pot Luck Supper followed by Holy Thursday Mass at 6:30PM Bring a dish you wish to share. Hot foods hot, cold foods cold.
GOOD FRIDAY – PASSION OF THE LORD NEIGHBORHOOD PROCESSION AT ST. LAWRENCE
Friday, March 30 th 3:00PM Passion Procession, (Dress accordingly), Veneration, Holy Communion Provisions made for active participation in the Church for those unable to walk the procession.
HOLY SATURDAY – EASTER VIGIL AT NATIVITY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Saturday, March 31 st 8:00PM Readings, Baptism, Profession of Faith, Confirmation, Eucharist. Bus Service will be provided from the City Parishes leaving each parish by 7:00PM
LENTEN LEAVE THE LIGHT ON FOR YOU: CONFESSIONS will take place at both Nativity and St. Martin de Porres each Wednesday of Lent from Feb 21 st to March 28 th 5:00-7:00PM in the Church. Come and take advantage of this time to learn from our failures and receive healing and restoration for our lives.
ST. MARTIN DE PORRES hosts O’Connell & Company in “Diva by Diva: A Celebration of Women” on Sunday, March 11 th at 2:00pm at the Church located at 555 Northampton Street. A free will offering will be received. This special performance marks the 100 th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York State a century after the ratification of the 19 th Amendment. Diva by Diva is gender specific, it is not gender exclusive….men like it too!