Twilight Twitches

Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
“I love you, Lord and I lift my voice,
to worship you, O my soul, rejoice.
Take joy, my King, to what you hear;
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.”

OK. Stick with me. I’m writing this Twitch thirteen days before you are reading it. Printing deadlines, etc. The next two weeks will be (or in your case, were) humdingers for all parishes. So, I am (was) sitting here trying to get into the spirit of how I might be feeling on Easter. I took a deep breath, pondered, and the words of the hymn you see above floated up and out.

fetscherDear Family,
HOSANNA comes from the Hebrew hosha'na, probably a shortening of hoshi'ah-nna "save, we pray." When Jesus entered Jerusalem, it was the cry of Galileans who came with him who knew him as a great prophet. How quickly their Hosannas were overcome by, "Crucify him."

Why? There were all sorts of reasons, perhaps the biggest being the opposition of the temple leaders. Somehow, they feared being displaced by someone who was praised by so many. Ultimately, they even pleaded with the hated occupying foreign government with the hypocritical, "We have no king but Caesar." "Crucify him!"

fetscherDear Family,
Two weeks until Easter! It seems like I just put away my Christmas wreath and here we are, getting ready to celebrate the greatest feast in our Church year, the Resurrection of the Lord.

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday. Don’t forget to be especially nice to visitors. I make a joke sometimes about Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday. We seem to do a little better with attendance when we’re giving something away. I can’t get my head around why giving Jesus every week wouldn’t fall in that same category, but I guess that is a pondering for another day.

fetscherDear Family,
REJOICE!  ...and not simply because we made it half way through Lent, but because we are drawing closer and closer to the moment when we celebrate with all the enthusiasm we can, the Resurrection of the Lord.

The very color of the vestments gives us a preview, a promise of sunrise. We’ve had discussions over the years of just precisely what today’s liturgical color is, and of course, we all know the vestment color ROSE!

On a more serious note, I’d like to pose a question. If you knew this was the last Easter you’d celebrate, would it affect the way you celebrated? As I think about it, I find myself chuckling. If I knew this was my last earthly Easter, I would be making sure the glide path was open and free of the mindlessness and self-preoccupation that so frequently obstructs my path. What about you?

And then on top of it, if this were the last one, I’m sure that Easter here won’t begin to compare to Easter there. The potential of this being the last would deepen my sense of urgency about desiring the everlasting one. Then of course, in true Irish-guilt fashion, I find myself saying, “Why wouldn’t ALL my Easters deserve a sense of urgency.” Ah well, at this point I think I hear God chuckling, too.

Maybe chuckling is what the Laetare is all about. Our eternity is what Jesus died for, so we can’t help getting ahead of ourselves and jumping to the end of Lent. Our time of self-examination and penance gets put on hold while we anticipate the ending of the story and say, “This is going to work out really great!”

I find myself asking the Lord to keep me from presuming on his mercy, even though I am totally convinced that what we sing is true: “The Lord is kind and merciful... slow to anger... rich in kind-ness...The Lord is kind and merciful.”

I have some excellent Lenten resources I’ve been looking at and praying with. In fact, it’s like coming up to this fantastic buffet and hardly knowing where to start. Sometimes, you can start eating, and you just keep eating because you’re on a roll. (No pun or puns intended.)

When it comes to the spiritual buffet, sometimes I can confuse dedicated reading with real spirituality. I won’t come up for breath to ask myself what effect my reading is having on the way I live and love. Do I really learn?
Often over the years, people will mention that they missed their morning prayers or evening prayers. They are upset, but sometimes don’t see how their habit (which, when good, is virtue) becomes mechanical. Sometimes you need to stop and just be still and know that long before you had a chance to get them all in, God heard your heart.

It goes to the issue I raised in the homily last Sunday. How overwhelming is God’s love, and what brings it home to me is being able to say, however hesitantly, “I love you, too.” I don’t say to God, “I love you.” That’s HIS line. I say, “I love you, TOO!” What allows me to say that to God? It’s believing that he has first loved me. Isn’t that what John says? “In this is love: not that we have  loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as  expiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) That’s not a bad conversation to be having with God, much less a very special act of faith that lets you hope and believe He really is there... for you.

My fingers are going faster than my mind, so I’m going to stop now, and go back, edit, and repair and pray that the rose in our vestment be¬comes a rising in our hearts.

In Jesus,
sign frjim

fetscherDear Family,
Here we are, half-way through Lent, and as one of my commentators, Maureen McCann Waldron said, “I haven’t been as good as I thought I could be with my Lenten resolutions.” My author went on to say, “What’s my reaction? Say, ‘oh well, the heck with it,’ or say, ‘thank you Lord, for the next three weeks to get it right.’” I’m opting for the latter.

She went on to make another point that grabbed my attention. She said, “Today, instead of redoubling our own efforts and trying to ‘manage’ Lent on our own, we ask God, ‘What is it you want to give me this Lent?’

fetscherDear Family,
I have stolen (with permission) the following reflection from Creighton (University) Online Ministries, authored by George Butterworth, recently of the Law Library at Creighton.

...And Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

fetscherDear Family,
So, we begin! Lent. The origin of the word has a couple of related sources, but fundamentally the word comes from medieval English before 1000, with Dutch (lente) and German (lenz) relatives. The old English is lencten and it literally means, “lengthen.” Lengthen what? The days of Spring. There is more daylight each day.

I know you were laying awake in bed last night wondering about all of that.

What’s the real point?

fetscherDear Family,
LENT It’s hard to believe Ash Wednesday arrives this week. No Meat for everyone over 14, and fasting for those 14-59. Also, there’s no meat on all the Fridays of Lent. How often I have said to you or myself in the past, “Let’s all go and make the sacrifice of having a lobster on Friday since we can’t eat meat.”

Somehow, we know that doesn’t quite meet the call to do the kinds of things that help us remember who we are, namely people who repent of our sins and believe in the gospel. Those are the words that come with the ashes. We mark our heads with the ashes to remind ourselves that our destiny is with the Lord. It’s the earthly existence that comes from ashes and re¬turns to them.

Dear Family,
As we just celebrated President's Day, I was thinking about our origins and remembered the following prayer written by Bishop, then Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore, the first bishop of the United States. The Church grew quickly under his leadership. This was his prayer. Pray it slowly and thoughtfully. JFF

fetscherDear Family,
As some of you know I've been under the weather a little bit, but it's interesting how opportunities like this give you time to think about things you wouldn't have thought about otherwise.
During the course of this past week we passed the first anniversary of the shootings at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school. All the discussion over the last year of what happened and why it happened, certainly helps to highlight the fact that there is much violence in our society. Are we willing to do anything about it?

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