Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion 2020: Bulletin Cover Art and Column

April 5, 2020 Bulletin Cover

Please consider signing up for our weekly bulletin on our website. Follow link.

CLICK HERE to read the full bulletin for this weekend. 

 

Dear Followers of the Crucified,

This week plunges us into the depths of Christ’s Paschal Mystery. His passion, his death and his resurrection become the core of our faith. This process of dying and rising is the pattern of the Christian. This letting go, this dying to self, and being raised up in Christ, becomes our life as the baptized. This week is the most important week in our liturgical year. In this week we find the face of our Savior, and the reality and the truth of our own lives.

I invite you into this week of prayer even though we will not be together! The virus has shut the doors of our churches, but not our hearts. We are committed to these liturgies even when we have to watch them on the internet or television. So, I want to remind you of the importance of these liturgies. I also invite you to make sure you are following Holy Week the best you can through the resources of our diocese and beyond.

I realize we are all distracted by life. Sometimes we feel lost in the unbelievable difficulties in life, including our survival from this pandemic. This week demands our attention. This is the week where the lost find Him. This is the week where the weak find strength. This is the week where we rest our shame, our sin, and our guilt at His feet. This is the week of love.

The Paschal Triduum begins on Holy Thursday. The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper takes us back to the night before Jesus died. He gathered his loved ones around a meal. He lifted up bread. Jesus told his disciples to always break bread in his memory. He promised to be with us forever. He held the cup in his hands. Jesus promised that his bloodshed would redeem the world. He also took the feet of his disciples into his hands. He told them that love is also real when we learn to serve. When we get out of the way, when we let go of our prejudice, our misogyny, our homophobia, our xenophobia, we then learn the core of hospitality among the stranger. “The other” no longer becomes a source of fear, but a living reality that all people belong in Christ Jesus. The Last Supper becomes food of our redemption and the source of love to embrace people. This link of prayer and service becomes the mission of the Church.

Good Friday, also called Friday of the Passion of the Lord, digs deep into our human longing for Christ. Christ’s death teaches us to move beyond fear. The redemption of the wood of the cross reveals that all suffering shall find a home in Christ Jesus. His blood on the cross cleanses all our sins, our divisions, our hatred and false power. We all ache to let go of our shame, our guilt, our ill will and pretentious speech at the altar of the cross. We are called to surrender to Christ. We allow him into our despair. Our longing is more than our selfishness. On Good Friday, remember the last time that you came to reverence or kiss the cross. Were you searching to belong? At the cross we discover our own faith in Jesus who takes us by the heart so that we will ultimately surrender to such love. We also realize that death does not have the last word.

On Holy Saturday, we celebrate the Easter Vigil. Here the Church ignites new fire so that we may not be lost in the dark. The Light of Christ reveals our path in the darkness. We listen to the scriptures of our salvation history. This story reveals to us that we are a continuation of such beauty and love. We crack open the gospel of Christ’s Resurrection. This is the place of freedom. Christ is living and real. This is normally the time that we welcome our Elect to the font of Christ Jesus. However, this year it has been postponed.

We explore the wonders that we belong together in Christ, that love is the real identity of us who believe. Someday soon, we will celebrate the Eucharist and be together again. Someday soon, we will initiate our Elect and celebrate Sacraments of Initiation for our children, young adults and those waiting for baptism. In the meantime, praise God for this week, for this is the week we call holy.

Blessings to you in this Holy Week,

Fr Ron

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent 2020: John 8:51-59, Homily, and Intercessions

fullsizeoutput_267b

“I AM” Finger Painting by: Ronald Raab, CSC 2020

 

Click here to listen to today’s homily

 

 

Gospel  JN 8:51-59

Jesus said to the Jews:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death.”
So the Jews said to him,
“Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?”
Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word.
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad.”
So the Jews said to him,
“You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area

 

Finger Painting: I painted this image yesterday as a simple exercise. The chaos and the confusion in world comes out in my fingers in an image of Christ that is impactful and strong and yet innocent and naive. He is, “I AM.” This is the Christ who truly suffered for us, who wants desperately to make a home within us. We ask to be heard:

 

Jesus, please hear the prayers of your people:

 

Hear the uncertainty, the pleas and the cries from nursing homes and emergency rooms.

 

Hear the murmurs of those who cannot breathe, the whispers of those who grieve in the nighttime.

 

Hear the thud of stones we cast aside as we release our desires to blame God for this virus. 

 

Hear the hopes of the young and the surrender of those who have caved in depression.

 

Hear the wants of our children and the longing for touch of those isolated wearing masks and gloves.

 

Hear the belly laughs of our toddlers in the backyard and the fear of parents peering out the window.

 

Hear the pillow talk of parents deciding how to make ends meet for their large family.

 

Hear the young who have only lived in times of entitlement and the old who still live in the shadows of wars.

 

Hear the pen scrape across the paper as grandparents revise their wills before bed.

 

Hear the tension in the voices of our dads or the single moms who lay awake at night unable to find money for the family since they live paycheck to paycheck.

 

Hear the nighttime crawlers in the tent city who wonder if they will survive in the cold with little food and the thoughts that a virus will wash away their friends and their own lives.

 

Hear the depressed whimper in evening’s darkness who cannot find hope in their souls and who grieve the loss of their teenage friends to suicide.

 

Hear the sobs of the sorrowed and the tears of those who grieve the dead.

 

Hear the families teaching the children at home while working on their computers to keep their jobs.

 

Hear the quiet computers in early morning and late at night, the miraculous machines that keep us all surviving.

 

Hear the hopes for tomorrow that a new day will heal the sick and give hope and rest to nurses and physicians.

 

Hear the love that circulates in our small homes.

 

Hear the tiny footprints of our children who creep into the bedrooms of their parents at nighttime because they know that something is scary.

 

Hear the music of symphonies on Zoom to squelch fear and hear the tours we take of art museums and national parks on our computers to pass the time.

 

Hear the, “Hail Mary’s” as our fingers fidget across beads and hear the, “Our Father’s” from the lips of the despairing, and hear the tiny cries our hearts make when we are afraid of what morning will bring. 

 

Hear our cries as we wait for your healing love.

 

Amen

 

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent 2020: John 8:31-42, Homily and Art

fullsizeoutput_2643

“In the Father’s presence” Finger Painting by: Ronald Raab,CSC 2020

 

CLICK HERE to listen to today’s homily

 

 

Gospel  JN 8:31-42

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him,
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham
and have never been enslaved to anyone.
How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in a household forever,
but a son always remains.
So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.
I know that you are descendants of Abraham.
But you are trying to kill me,
because my word has no room among you.
I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;
then do what you have heard from the Father.”

They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children,
you would be doing the works of Abraham.
But now you are trying to kill me,
a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;
Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the works of your father!”
So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication.
We have one Father, God.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me,
for I came from God and am here;
I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”

 

 

Image of the Father, Our Creator God: In this simple finger painting, we view the Father’s hold on the earth, His care for us. Jesus invites us to recognize the truth of his presence coming from the creating love of The Father. We are called into this relationship through our baptism. The Father not only holds the world in his hand, but holds every human person in his hand. The Father is the source of mercy, love and beauty. We belong. We are united in Him. We listen carefully to his voice and we live the message of his creating love through our actions in the world. This is the essence of this painting. Even the smallest stroke of my thumb, invites us into the love that the Father offers us. Our lives are not about ourselves, but living the mystery of our connection to the Trinity. This is the truth. This truth will set us free. Gaze upon this image and know the Father’s love for you. 

Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows: Prayers in Time of Worry

fullsizeoutput_2672

“Mary, The Mother of Sorrows” Finger Painting by: Ronald Raab, CSC

This finger painting of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, is intense. In fact, it is almost too raw for our encounter and prayer. However, this is exactly what came from my fingers. This time in history seems almost inconsolable. In our common humanity, we are facing much suffering and hardship. We are faced with the unknown, suffering confronts us if we want to encounter it or not. This is not the time for despair. This is the time in which we need God the most. So I offer you, Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, to help us all bear the mystery of suffering. Mary stood by her Son, she stood next to suffering. She even held her dead Son, Jesus, before the disciples placed him in the tomb.

Before we celebrate the Triduum next week, I invite you to email us your prayers so that Fr. Randy and I can bring them to the altar. There is much going on in our communities and world. Please send us the specific prayers that you want to place at the Foot of the Cross. Please email us those prayers that you entrust to Mary to intercede for us. Please email us at: office@sacredheartcos.org 

Here are some prayers and thoughts to help you ponder your own heart.

For my quick instinct to judge and lash out at my children because I am really afraid right now. Help me find peace when I have to keep hope alive at home. We pray to the Lord.

For my neighbor who resists help from people. I know she is afraid. Please, Lord, help us learn again to not be afraid to reach out to people. Help us not build more walls with fear. We pray to the Lord.

For my grandson who grieves the loss of his senior year at college, his graduation and his goodbyes. Help him, Lord, find stability in the unknown of this new economy. We pray to the Lord.

Help, Jesus, with those who are on the frontlines of this virus. I pray today, that no one has to die alone, that more healthcare workers can be found, that rest may restore nurses and aids and doctors. We pray to the Lord.

Mary, I don’t know if I can stand by the suffering we are facing. I have lost my retirement, my fear keeps me up at night, and people are unnerved. Help me with your patience as you stood with your Son, Jesus. Jesus, I long for your Divine Mercy. We pray to the Lord.

Mary, help my family tell the truth of how this moment in history is challenging them. I see panic in my boy’s eyes. I see sadness in my daughter’s spirit. She is supposed to go to college orientation in June and begin her new education in August. We simply can’t afford it all right now. Help me stand, Mary, among the thorns of uncertainty. We pray to the Lord.

So, email us your prayers, from the loud cries of your uncertainty, from the hidden moments of your fear so Father Randy and I can pray them during the Triduum and Easter: office@sacredheartcos.org

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent 2020: John 8:21-30, Homily, and Art

fullsizeoutput_2625

“Condemned Christ” Finger Painting by: Ronald Raab, CSC 2020

CLICK HERE to listen to today’s homily

 

 

Gospel  JN 8:21-30

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come.”
So the Jews said,
“He is not going to kill himself, is he,
because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?”
He said to them, “You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM,
you will die in your sins.”
So they said to him, “Who are you?”
Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world.”
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said to them,
“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me.
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him.”
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

 

This finger painting captures Jesus in the unknown. He is condemned by our human frailty and humbled by the experience of passion and death, only to be revealed. His eyes are cast down. The posture of Jesus captures a moment before his hands will be tied as he comes before Pilate. His arms will also be raised on the cross. Sit with this image and wait for Jesus to reveal to you all that is humbling you at this time in your life from our common experience of virus and faith. 

Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent 2020: John 8:1-11, Homily, and Art

 

fullsizeoutput_261e

“The Freed Sinner” Finger Painting by: Ronald Raab, CSC 2020

Click here to listen to today’s homily

 

 

Gospel  JN 8:1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area,
and all the people started coming to him,
and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman
who had been caught in adultery
and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him,
“Teacher, this woman was caught
in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him,
so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
he straightened up and said to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one,
beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
“Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

 

(This image of the “Freed Sinner” is a simple finger painting. I find it compelling and filled with emotion. I am learning over and over again in art that these people in Scripture are known to me, they remain in my heart. My art is revealing what is already there. On Friday, she came to be on paper. She took my breath away and I started to weep. I know she saw the face of the One who forgave her. Only she knows what Jesus wrote in the sand. I have to believe that he was finger painting, creating images from his heart of the mercy of the Father coming to life in the sand. 

 

 

Fifth Sunday of Lent 2020: Prayers of the Faithful and Homily

Version 2

“Lazarus, Come Out!” Painting by: Ronald Raab, CSC 2020

 

CLICK here to listen to today’s homily

 

March 29, 2020

Fifth Sunday of Lent

We pray for those who face major ethical decisions in life. God, may we be comforted realizing that life has value and beauty.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for all who are ill with coronavirus and those who have died. For all who live in uncertainty and fear. For healthcare works and civic leaders, for those who race to the bedside of our ill and dying.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for our children who grieve their parent’s death and for all who stand beside a gravesite. God, in your mercy, treasure your people.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for a new and vital trust in faith. God, console us in our weariness and in all of our unanswered questions.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray to be released from fear, hatred and cynicism. God, bring new life and resurrection to all who seek you in sincerity and truth.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for people marginalized because of skin color, language and ethnic backgrounds. God, welcome all people to your altar and console those lost along the fray.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for a vital and new responsibility for life. God, help us not blame others for our own lack of faith and ignorance. Open up faith, love and hope for us all.

We pray to the Lord

We pray for all who are grieving the dead. God, may we turn to you when death is near. Restore trust among us. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.

 

 

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent 2020: Gospel and Homily

 

Version 2

“Comforter Christ” Painting by Ronald Raab, CSC 2018

CLICK HERE to listen to today’s homily

Verse Before The Gospel    LK 8:15

Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

Gospel   JN 7:40-53

Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said,
“This is truly the Prophet.”
Others said, “This is the Christ.”
But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he?
Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family
and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”
So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.
Some of them even wanted to arrest him,
but no one laid hands on him.

So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees,
who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?”
The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”
So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived?
Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?
But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.”
Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them,
“Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him
and finds out what he is doing?”
They answered and said to him,
“You are not from Galilee also, are you?
Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Then each went to his own house.

 

Fifth Sunday of Lent 2020: Bulletin Column and Cover Art

March 29, 2020 bulletin cover

CLICK HERE to read the complete bulletin for this weekend.

 

March 29, 2020

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Dear Believers in Christ Jesus,

John 11:1-45 tells a story that most of us remember. Lazarus, a friend of Jesus dies. In the presence of Jesus, he was raised from the dead. This gospel story becomes meaningful not only for the friends of Jesus, but it leads to the very core of our faith; death brings new life. This story leads us to Jesus himself; he will die on a cross and then he will live again. Death does not win. Life in Christ is eternal.

Lazarus was a friend of Jesus. Jesus loved him. Mary and Martha were his sisters. Jesus did not respond to his illness for a couple of days. I can’t imagine what Mary and Martha must have felt; knowing if Jesus had been at his side, their brother would not have died. They stood at Lazarus’ tomb weeping. The stench of death covered their senses. Jesus enters the chaos, the smell, and the uncertainty of death. Love comes to the tomb. Jesus opens the tomb. Silence. Then, Lazarus walks from the grave. Imagine the joy, the love in their tears washing fear from their eyes and souls. I want to see what the women saw, that death does not win.

Lent invites us to die to ourselves. This death is about our selfishness and ego. We learn to live in Christ alone. This life comes from our baptism. We renew our baptismal lives in the moment of Easter. Lent forms us into the pattern of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. This is the essence of faith. In Christ Jesus, we let go of our old selves and live in him, even here on earth.

We are clothed in Christ at Easter. We take on this pattern of dying to self and rising in Christ. There is nothing more important in our lives of faith than this renewal. We strive to become who Jesus was on earth. We strive to become his message in our lives and relationships. We strive to become what Jesus still is. We bring the Kingdom of Heaven alive on earth. We carry the mantle of becoming peacemakers, disciples of justice, people who live for others. We learn to work for the needs of people. We learn to heal and not divide. We learn to walk with others and not create divisions, wars, and constant violence. The Christian life is not about what we want, it is an integral striving to live as Jesus did on earth, to model our lives for the benefit of other people.

Lazarus teaches us that it is all right to die. Death is a door to the Kingdom. Even the small deaths become examples for us to live more closely in him. We die to selfishness. We die to anger and rage. We die to always being correct; we die to right answers and surety. We die to our sense of certainty. We die to I-got-mine-attitudes. We die to privilege. We die to power and corruption. We die to revenge and hatred. We die to trying to live our children’s lives. We die to what we believe is the way to run the world. We die to our opinions. We die to bitterness toward our spouse. We die to the hardness that has covered our hearts. We grieve the dead and rejoice in the end that death gives way to life.

The story of Lazarus looms large in our faith, for it teaches us that death is not the enemy. Lazarus also shows us how to rise from the dead. Easter becomes our sure hope to live in love and freedom today. Easter shows us that God’s life in us can’t be lost, for we belong to him in the passion, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. I desire to die to self and live in him and I know the Spirit speaks in every human heart calling us all to Jesus’ empty tomb.

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.

Blessings,

Fr. Ron

 

 

 

 

 

Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent 2020: Gospel and Homily

fullsizeoutput_23a7

CLICK here for today’s homily

 

 

Gospel  JN 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Jesus moved about within Galilee;
he did not wish to travel in Judea,
because the Jews were trying to kill him.
But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.

But when his brothers had gone up to the feast,
he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said,
“Is he not the one they are trying to kill?
And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him.
Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ?
But we know where he is from.
When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.”
So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said,
“You know me and also know where I am from.
Yet I did not come on my own,
but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.
I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”
So they tried to arrest him,
but no one laid a hand upon him,
because his hour had not yet come.