Several years ago, a well-known British pop singer and philanthropist visited a Bihar refugee camp in Bangladesh. When he returned home, he described this moving incident: The first morning I was there I must have washed my hands a dozen times. I didn’t want to touch anything, least of all the people. Everyone in those camps was covered in sores and scabs. I was bending down to one little girl, mainly for the photographer’s benefit, and trying hard not to have too close a contact. Just then someone accidentally stood on the child’s fingers. She screamed and, as a reflex, I grabbed her, forgetting her dirt and her sores. I remember that warm little body clinging to me and the crying instantly stopping. In that moment I knew I had much to learn about practical Christian loving, but that at least I’d started. [Carnegie Mellon News, December 2014]
The greatest challenges to Christian compassion are to find Jesus where He always waits for us; among the outcasts. The Book of Hebrews reminds us, “Jesus too suffered outside the gate to sanctify the people with His own blood. Let us go to Him, then, outside the camp, and share his degradation. For there is no eternal city for us in this life but we look for one in the life to come” [Hebrew 13:12-14] The Christian who remains safely within the camp, refusing to reach out to the least of Jesus’ brothers and sister, has missed the whole point of the Gospel proclaimed by Him “who is to come.”
I’m not sure whether I’m imagining this but last week was the worst church attendance ever. I had four people at Cazadero and a handful people at the 5 p.m. and 9 am mass at St. Elizabeth. Maybe because of the weather and I’m sure others have caught the virus, as I have now while I’m typing this letter. Maybe we should reconsider consolidating some of the masses during the winter time.
Peace and blessings!
LITURGICAL MUSIC CORNER by our Music Director, Rebecca Brown
Feb. 15, Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst, God has visited his people.”
Although there were many prophets before Him, Jesus, God’s Son, is that great prophet who came to speak the Good News and set His people free. We are those people, whom He touches, forgives, heals, and saves, and He calls us to speak the Good News to others.
Songs for the 9 am Mass:
Processional Hymn: God Has Chosen Me (BB #379)
Psalm 32: I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.
Preparation of the Gifts: In Every Age (BB # 469 )
Communion Song: You Are Mine (BB # 460 )
Recessional Song: Glory and Praise to Our God (BB # 547)
Feb. 18, Ash Wednesday 5 pm Mass
Antiphon 1: Let us change our garments to sackcloth and ashes, let us fast and weep before the Lord, that our God, rich in mercy, might forgive us our sins.
Today, Ash Wednesday, begins the solemn penitential season of Lent, which lasts for 40 days. In the early church, this was a period of preparation for the catechumens who would be received into the church on Easter Vigil. It was also a time of public confession and repentance for those who had committed serious sins! Thank God we no longer have public confessions, but rather can receive God’s forgiveness and mercy through the sacrament of reconciliation, a powerful source of grace for those who partake of it.
Scripture tells us to “rend your hearts, not your garments”! God wants our hearts, all of us, not just the outward fulfillment of His commandments, but our whole hearts, minds, souls and beings. He wants us to obey Him, not out of fear, but because we love Him.
Processional Hymn: Return to God (SS)
Psalm 51: Be merciful, O Lord, be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Gospel Acclamation: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.
Distribution of Ashes: Signed by Ashes (BB # 118)
Preparation of Gifts: God of Creation (SS)
Communion Song: With the Lord, There is Mercy (BB # 672)
Recessional Song: There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy (BB # 493)
There is no Penitential Rite today, as noted on p. 4 of your missalette. The blessing and receiving of ashes is penitential by its very nature. The Gloria is omitted during the Lenten season, as is the “Alleluia”, both of which will be brought back in all their glory during the Holy Thursday liturgy.