Twilight Twitches

Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
The parish family of St. John the Baptist recently celebrated the Rites of Christian Burial for Arlene Erdman, the wife of Dr. Leonard Erdman, good people known to many. At the funeral, at her request the following reflection was read by Msgr. Vincent Kelly, also its author. It pleases me now to pass it on to you, particularly at the beginning of our new year.

fetscherDear Family,
Last week I asked, “So why did he come?” As I thought about it my memories took me down the path of seeing Jesus as our greatest gift. He came to us to give the ultimate gift, eternal life. Now that a week has passed since present-opening, I’m asking myself another question. Today, is my best memory of Christmas 16 the realization that Jesus was my best gift?

Two weeks ago, someone asked me to bless a set of keys that were for a car he was giving to his wife. I don’t remember who the gentleman was, but I hope his wife really enjoyed and will continue to enjoy her special gift. I’m hoping and praying that they both not only enjoyed being giver and givee, but also knew that the gift of the car was nothing compared to the gift of Jesus, who was the reason for the gift in the first place. “Jesus, is the reason for the season,” as the old catchphrase goes.

fetscherDear Family,
Welcome to all our visitors. If someone in your family ‘guilt-tripped’ you into coming, thank them. For one thing, we may need you more than you need us, at least at first blush. After all, this is the season of decorating and you bring a unique dimension to the family. For another thing, Jesus is constantly seeking ways to love us, and here, hopefully, we are letting each other see Him in Word, Sacrament and all of us, His Body, the members of the Body of Christ. That’s why He came.

The more amazing thing is that after He came the first time, he chose to use us to continue coming. Imagine. Us. That’s why he came.

There are a lot of histories of gift-giving that vary in time and cultures across the ages. I’d like to think that we give gifts today because they reflect our attitudes about the people to whom we give them. But first of all, how about considering that we give them in gratitude because we realize WE have been “gifted” by Jesus. That’s why He came.

fetscherDear Family,
The feast is a week away and this has been an interesting time for me. For one thing, thanks to Father Tom Boyer, we’ve been pondering the idea that, “Advent is not a season; it is a way of life.” The adventure of living a life of expectation brings a joyful perspective of freshness to living ...even when you have passed the mid-way mark of your life. (Okay. Don’t get technical... maybe I’m a little more than half-way.) I’m not sure how the attitude I have here from day-to-day shapes my eter¬nal future but I have a strong feeling that is not just deeds that shape our future, but attitudes as well.

You’ve also heard me asking how does the gospel help us deal with the socio-political-cultural chasm we seem to find ourselves in. Some observe those divisions have been there a long time and only in the present unique circumstances do they tend to emerge. You’ve got to wonder where these demons are coming from. However... whatever... I’d like to feel a little better about things. I had the happy discovery of reruns of the Dick Van Dyke show that have been ‘colorized.’ Thank you, CBS. I think, though, we are going to have to do a little bit better than colorization.

fetscherDear Family,
Just “because we’ve always done it this way” is one of those phrases that’s been used to end conversations and drive people nuts. I “always” write a Twitch.

I just came from St. Thomas Aquinas high school where the students were taking advantage of having priests come for the sacrament of Reconciliation. The kids I met were really impressive.

I knew I had to get home asap because I had not written this letter and the deadline comes at noon, (ten minutes from now.) My mind has been a blank for two days.

fetscherDear Family,
I’m looking forward to the NOVA SINGERS who will grace OUR SANCTUARY on Tuesday night. If you haven’t gotten your ticket(s) yet you can probably do so this weekend. But the $15 ticket goes to $20 at the door on Tuesday. It’s one of the nicest outside ‘visitations’ we have during the year and you won’t be disappointed in the quality of the program.

I will be personally happy to have their rejuvenating musical gifts. As I write I’ve just had the news that a wonderful woman, Evelyn McInerney, has died and gone to the Lord. When I was first named a pastor in 1982, Evelyn was my first secretary, hand-holder (always in the presence of her husband Deacon Vince), mother-advisor and fan club president, at least most of the time. I’m sure there were days when I tried her patience.

fetscherDear Family,
Happy Advent. I hope your Thanksgiving Day was a blast. Since I must write this letter early, I don’t know how my Thanksgiving was. (You know there is a Twitch in here somewhere...)

I know I am expecting to celebrate the Eucharist with you and I am hoping that the liturgy will be as nice as it always is. I’ll cook a little. Lengthy kitchen time has been a little harder over this past eight months, but it’s a great recreation for me.

Anticipating my Thanksgiving seems like a great example of exactly what it’s like to be on our walk to heaven. I know where I’m going, but I’m not quite sure what the journey is going to be like – even after 75 years. In fact, I think I know less now that I did when I was a ‘callow youth.” My knowing is not the same as my hoping, and my hoping is much bigger than it ever has been.

fetscherDear Family,
We will celebrate Thanksgiving Day with the Eucharist at 10:00 am on Thursday. (We won’t have an 8:00 am morning Mass.)  What better way to celebrate than with the gift of the Lord that means “thanksgiving,” that is, the Eucharist. The Greek roots mean ‘good grace,’ or another way of puffing might be “the best relationship you can have.” Where better to start than with the Lord, especially since he has already started with us.

It seems a bit ironic to me that going all the way back to George Washington, it takes a civil proclamation to call us to thank God. But we also say “In God we Trust” and we proclaim allegiance to one nation “under God.” It seems God is part of our DNA.

fetscherDear Family,
We are doing a little reconstruction on our hospitality and usher ministry. Before saying anything else, I’d like to thank Chuck Hansen for the six years he has served as the lead usher. It’s not an easy job and more than one person has been ferried to their hotel in the famous “red” car.

Our adjusted system will see a lead usher at each of our three liturgies, Gisella Reyes at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Steve Black on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and Bob Zelmer at 11:00 a.m. The three will work together to coordinate our special events such as Christmas and Easter. We have a lot of faithful ushers at each liturgy most of the time, but if you have a generous heart to assist at any of the Masses, you can talk to one of these three people who have been willing to take on this new role.

fetscherDear Family,
So, if you are reading this on Sunday, I hope you remembered to “Fall Back.” I always think of it as nature paying me back for the hour it borrowed in the Spring when I sprung forward. I don’t spring with quite the agility I used to.

As we finally arrive at Election Day on Tuesday, it seemed to me that time was grinding to almost a halt. Have the processes of nominations and elections have been going on forever? I have this awful feeling that no sooner will we inaugurate a president in January than the process will begin all over again for 2020. We’ll probably be hearing from half the populace about the mistake the other half made.

The election might not seem at first to have much relevance to the “stuff” of a Twitch. I keep asking myself, “How does the gospel help frame this part of our lives?”

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