Date: Sunday, February 14, 2021
Jesus begins his public ministry by preaching the Kingdom of God, by calling his disciples and by healing. Jesus heals a man with an unclean spirit in the synagogue, he heals Simon’s mother-in-law with a fever, he heals those who come at sunset, and then Jesus heals the leper. Jesus authenticates his preaching and clarifies the mission of his disciples with his ministry of healing.
“A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” (Mark 1:40) He is no longer a person with a disease, he has become the disease, a leper. Leprosy refers to multiple skin afflictions that would make a person unclean and unable to come for worship. The person has a visible physical condition that results in isolation and separation from the community. He is “quarantined.” The humble petition of the leper to be made clean is on our lips as we pray to be protected from the coronavirus. The loving response of Jesus and his willingness to touch the leper assures us of God’s grace and concern for us at this perilous time.
It was just a year ago that we conducted a Survey on Parish Life – on liturgy/worship, pastoral ministry, faith formation, and administration. Our Pastoral Council and Trustees reviewed all the surveys and summarized the results into areas to celebrate and opportunities for growth. Parishioners were able to review the findings at a Town Hall Meeting and on our webpage. Opportunities for growth are Youth; Social Media; Safety/Security; and Life/Social Issues. Your input in the survey and in focus groups will help guide our path going forward.
Pope Francis has designated this present liturgical/pastoral Year to Saint Joseph. Francis proposes Saint Joseph as a model for us especially those providing care and protection during this pandemic. Saint Joseph quietly and heroically risked his life for the safety of Mary and Jesus. Bishop Michael Fisher invites us to participate in “33 Days of Prayer and Daily Challenge” that begins on Monday February 15 and continues until the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on Friday March 19. We can participate by going to our webpage. Paper copies are available at the entrances to church. St. Joseph pray for us.
February 17, 2021 is Ash Wednesday. We are directed to use an approved option of Sprinkling Ashes on the crown of the head. It recalls the biblical method of putting on sackcloth and ashes as a sign of penance. Ashes sprinkled on the top of our head signifies our interior commitment to the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Ashes will be sprinkled during Masses at 9:00 AM & 7:00 PM and during a Liturgy of the Word Service at 12 Noon. The two refrains when Sprinkling Ashes resonate this year. “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”