Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Today we would normally celebrate St. Joseph’s Day, a solemnity in the church. (That means it is a very important feast.) We celebrate St. Joseph tomorrow. The transfer makes the point that these Sundays of Lent are super-important. They are telling us an important story.  We began with the temptations of Jesus. Last week we heard about the Transfiguration. Every year those two events begin Lent no matter whose gospel we are reading. This year we are in cycle A with Matthew.

Then, in Year A we shift to John’s gospel. Today John gives us the first of three stories we will hear from his gospel. The Woman at the Well shows us the universality of God’s saving desire. Next week the Man Born Blind will portray the importance of the insights of faith. In two weeks we hear that the Raising of Lazarus demonstrates God’s power of life over death.

These stories underline the “what and why” of the actions of Jesus. They bring us right up to Palm Sunday when we read the Passion of Jesus through the eyes of one of the synoptic gospel writers. This year it’s Matthew’s turn to show us the “how” by which Jesus will accomplish His Father’s will.
After writing the foregoing, I find myself a little out of breath. If you were not a believer, but simply sat down and read the gospel parts I just wrote about, I think you would have to say, at least, “Wow! That’s some story. Who is this guy, anyway?”

Indeed, who is he? I hope we came a little close to knowing as Father Bill Mason tried to walk us through the answer. His mission theme of, “Who do you say that I am?” challenges us on a very personal level. After we’ve heard Father Bill, and after we have heard from Matthew and John on our Lenten Sundays, I will have been given some great gifts of the wisdom and experience of others who were, and are, followers of Jesus. How do I let my own experience of Jesus shape itself out of my gospel and Mission encounters?

Well, I’ve been around for 75+ years, and I think I have been consciously thinking of Jesus in one way or another for nearly 70 of those years. Jesus constantly evolved in my thinking. At different stages in my life I was very close to Him; at other times, very distracted. After all this time though, the one thing I see as a constant throughout it all is that He was always there for me, as close as I was willing to let Him be. That vision is surely one of the products of old age. The more I have been able to look back and see Him, the far more likely I will be seeing him tomorrow, ...and then some, with His help. No wonder people can speak confidently about their hope of eternal life. That’s not presumption; it’s common sense vision.

Returning to Saint Joseph, there has been a custom that food would be blessed on his feast. Here is a prayer you can say over your next load of grocery bags or your next meal.

Blessed are you, Lord God.
Through the efforts of many,
you have showered your creatures with blessings,
especially the food that strengthens us.
As we celebrate the Feast of Saint Joseph whose hands you
used to provide for his Holy Family,
may we know your heavenly blessing.
May we always strive for what is holy,
and may we continually grow in charity,
especially in our concern for the hungry.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen

May your Lenten journey continue in joy and peace and honest introspection.
In Jesus,
sign frjim

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