I’m around students frequently. In all my interactions I don’t think I’ve ever hear one of them share with great excitement that they were preparing to walk into an exam. Exams and tests are instruments that measure retention and hopefully the integration of information and knowledge. In this weekend’s reading from the Book of Genesis, Abraham is put to a supreme test. "Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you" Genesis 22:2. To our contemporary mind this request is absurd. Abraham longed for a son for many years. Finally in his old age God smiled upon he and his wife and Isaac was born. How shall he understand this request? What about the future of the family? What about the many promises that God made to Abraham only possible through Isaac? The subject matter defies our logic but the lesson is not in the subject matter but in the result of the test. As the author of the letter to the Hebrews indicates: “He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead, and he received Isaac back as a symbol” Hebrews 11:19. Because Abraham passed the test well, God promises many blessings to him. Each year on the second Sunday of Lent we hear one of the Evangelist’s version of the transfiguration story. The story begins with Jesus traveling up a high mountain and being seen in all His glory along with Moses and Elijah. Moses went upon the heights of Sinai to encounter the divine and communicate with God. Elijah too climbed up a high mountain to behold the voice of God in a tiny whispering sound. The vision of the reward, transfigured life with all the faithful, is given to the apostles Peter, James and John so that they may be strengthened when Jesus undergoes the testing of his brutal suffering and death. We too have begun our Lenten journey. Many of us have made some intentional course corrections and commitments to Lenten discipline. As soon as we commit ourselves to some discipline the tests begin to tempt us off our mark. Remember the goal of the transfiguration. Stay the course.
2018 LENTEN CHALLENGE: CHRISTIAN SABBATH RESTORATION With discussion with our family members let us make an agreement to reclaim some part of this lost value. This may mean: shopping for food or gasoline, washing one’s car, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, finishing some homework for school, running to the pharmacy, and cutting the grass, when applicable, on other days. So what are we to do with our newly found time? We begin by worshiping together at Mass and maybe inviting portions of our family to gather each week during Lent for a Sunday meal. It may mean taking some additional time for prayer such as: praying the rosary together as a family, a visit for Adoration of the Holy Eucharist at Nativity from 12Noon to 4:45PM, a visit to the chapels at the Dominican or Carmelite sisters in Buffalo, or even a visit to the Abbey of the Genesee for 5:30PM Sunday Evening Prayer. It may also include a fun family activity such as a walk in Delaware Park or time spent together at another activity. Some of us may have to work on the Christian Sabbath but spending what time we may have together is a value worth pursuing. Will you accept the challenge?
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 11th 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!
UPON THIS ROCK which many of us have engaged with last year has yielded its first year of benefits. Last June, monies that were directed back to our parish were redirected to our last year’s contribution to the Catholic Charities appeal. This past January, a direct deposit of $4,954.06 was made into our operations account. This funding has been dedicated, as agreed upon, to our “Roof Loan Repayment.” Thank you one and all for your dedication to Upon This Rock and to the ongoing support of our family in faith as well.
ST. MARTIN DE PORRES hosts O’Connell & Company in “Diva by Diva: A Celebration of Women” on Sunday, March 11th at 2:00pm at the Church located at 555 Northampton Street. A free will offering will be received. This special performance marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York State a century after the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Diva by Diva is gender specific, it is not gender exclusive….men like it too! All are welcome.