Weekly Bulletin and Mass Intentions

Weekly Announcements
Month of the Passion

  1. Volunteers are needed for the Food Pantry on the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays and Wednesdays of the month from 10am – 2pm. We will have the food pantry February 13/14 and 27/28.
  2. On Wednesdays at 6:00pm there is the weekly Church gathering where there will be the opportunity to join in discussions of the Catholic Faith, History and Sacred Scripture. Everyone is invited. Adults preparing for Sacraments must attend. (Cancelled this week because of Ash Wednesday)
  3. We are still in need of various projects to be done or completed. If you have maintenance skills, please see Father to assist.
  4. Those needing a receipt for contributions for last year may call the Church office M-F 9-5.
  5. This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, a day of complete Abstinence and Fast—beginning the Lenten Fasting period for those between the ages of 21-59.

Quinquagesima Sunday
Rev. Pius Parsch

On this third Sunday in the series, Pre-Lent comes to its zenith. There is more intensity than on previous Sundays, as may be noticed in the choice of the patriarch, in the selection of the station church, and in the liturgical texts taken as a whole. Today is the Church's third and final call inviting all to profit by the Lenten season of grace.

Again this Sunday three men appear and speak to us: Abraham, the Rock of the Old Testament, the hero of obedience through faith; on the summit of Moria (where Christ died), he offered the great sacrifice of his own child. Peter, the Rock of the New Testament; today at his grave we offer the sacrifice of holy Mass; with words taken from the life of his brother Paul he teaches us the ultimate goal of all our efforts during Lent, love. Finally, Christ rises up before us; He will help us "that we may see" by healing us of our spiritual blindness.

"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem" to suffer; now the Church has raised the curtain, and in the distance we can see Holy Week and Easter. This very week Lent begins; its venerable portal is Ash Wednesday.

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem

1. Today holy Church presents to us a drama in three acts:

Act I. An Old Testament passion play. Abraham, the man of obedience through faith, enters. The spirit and principle of his every act was total surrender to the will of God. When still a young man, God took him from his home and led him to a foreign land. Homeless, he put all his confidence in God. Relying upon divine promises Abraham hoped against hope for a son until his hundredth year. Then Sara gave birth to Isaac. The child grew up, a joy to his parents; the boy became a young man. One night God stood before Abraham—he must sacrifice his son with his own hand!

Abraham obeys. On the mountain where sacrificial lambs, types of the true Lamb, were immolated at a later date, where Christ Himself died, there on Mt. Moria we see the aged patriarch standing as a priest before an altar upon which Isaac lies bound. Abraham is ready to immolate the victim, but the real sacrifice he is offering is that of obedience and purity of will. We know how God responded, how He gave back to Abraham his son, alive; and in Isaac his son God gave Abraham His own Son as He made him the ancestor of the Messiah.

In the coming season of penance you can bring God no sacrifice that is more acceptable than that of your own will. Lent, in the last analysis, should align our wills perfectly with that of God.

Act II. At Peter's grave. The Church conducts us to the grave of St. Peter in Rome where Christians from every quarter are gathered for a common service. First, a few scenes from Peter's life. It is Holy Thursday. Peter is standing in the courtyard of Caiphas, the high priest; he wishes to see what will happen to Jesus. But he is recognized by a maidservant. He swears and curses, insisting that he has never seen the Galilean. Then the glance of his fettered Master falls upon him, the cock crows; he goes out and weeps bitterly! Another scene. Some time has elapsed since the Savior's resurrection. The place is by the Lake Genesareth. Jesus stands before Peter and asks him three times, "Peter, do you love Me?" Peter answers, "You know that I love You. You know all things, You know that I love You." Now Peter turns and says to us: See in me an example of Christ's great love, His love for a sinful creature. And from the lips of my brother Paul listen to a wonderful canticle on love!

Quinquagesima's principal themes are illustrated in the drawing. Below we see Abraham and Isaac. Their sacrifice consisted in immolating their wills—God did not permit the performance of the act itself. Love of God burned brightly within both father and son; both, therefore, are surrounded by flames and incense. In the middle vignette Christ is passing through Jericho, the city of palms, on His way to lay down His life as a sacrifice for many in Jerusalem. Love again is the impelling motive. This blind man whom Jesus meets represents those without the light of faith; loudly and earnestly be calls: Son of David, have mercy on me. A virgin baring seraph wings and crowned with roses typifies charity where faith and hope are no more. She accompanies her song on a harp. Charity is greater than faith (cross) and hope (anchor). Here on earth love frequently involves sacrifice that sears and burns (bottom) or a road to Calvary (center), but in heaven love encounters nothing but eternal peace and joy.

Act III. The blind see. Our Lord is making His last trip to Jerusalem. Near the gates of Jericho He gives His apostles the third prophecy of His passion. Then He enters the city of palms and stays with the publican Zacheus. As He leaves, a blind beggar kneels on the roadside; he cries aloud with all his might for the light of Easter. Jesus heals him, and with seeing eyes he joins the procession to Jerusalem. You, my Christian friend, are that blind beggar. At Easter time Christ heals your eyes.

During the holy Sacrifice we take part in playing these three acts. Like Abraham we give our most precious possession, our very self, and in exchange receive what is even more precious, Christ. Like Peter we grieve over our infidelity and receive the proof of highest love in the death on the Cross renewed. With eyes healed we already see the purpose of the bloody drama of the Cross, for it has brought us spiritual enlightenment.

2. Holy Mass (Esto mihi). Our preparation for the great season of spiritual renewal comes to a climax in today's Mass liturgy celebrated at the grave of the apostle Peter. Seeking help we come to the house of God, to the Rock of Peter; but our mood is less despondent and more confident than on the previous two Sundays: "Be my leader and my nourisher" (Intr.) today and through the forty day "sojourn in the desert" of Lent. Psalm 30 leads us through the depths of the passion to the heights of the transfiguration on Tabor (Easter).

The Collect repeats the last of the requests in the Our Father: lead us not into temptation, deliver us from all evil. Epistle: the third Epistle of Pre-Lent takes us to the summit of preparation for Lent, love. Paul sings his magnificent canticle of love; nothing in God's kingdom is nobler than this self-effacing, all-patient love which never passes away. Gradual: the song of love is followed by a chant in thanksgiving for redemption. In the Gospel the Church shows us the Savior upon the road to Calvary and in the glory of His resurrection. Holy Week and Easter come before our astonished eyes; now, during the Sacrifice, I am like the blind beggar who sat beside the road and Christ wishes to open my eyes as He passes.

In the Offertory "I follow Him, glorifying God" upon the road of suffering. May this offering, we ask in the Secret, wipe out sins and sanctify our body and soul, so that we may offer the holy Sacrifice worthily. In the Communion anthem the Church assures us that the Eucharist will quiet all our longing and desire for Easter happiness. In the Postcommunion we again ask for protection against all types of misfortunes.

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