08/05/12 Pastor’s Message

August 13th, 2012 by helen in Pastor Message Archive 2012

From Fr. Dennis’ Desk

Getting Prepared

The other day, I was opening my mail and came across an advertisement for some Advent materials!  Advent materials!  I thought – wow! – this is a bit of a rush, isn’t it?  We are just barely brushing August’s threshold, and we hear the faint echoes of John the Baptist over the horizon.  Even though Advent will not arrive until after Thanksgiving, I thought, preparation is a good thing, right?  “Be prepared,” we are always told, as the Boy Scouts remind us.

I want to reflect a bit on another kind of preparation, one more immediate than Advent.  In fact, this preparation comes around all the time, as close to us as our weekly celebration of the Eucharist.  As I mentioned last week, we have begun a five-week ‘block’ of readings focusing on the Bread of Life discourse (Scripture scholars call it a ‘discursus’).  Jesus explores and teaches about Himself as Food for our salvation, the Living Bread come down from heaven.  This discourse continues for the month of August, each week emphasizing another aspect of Jesus as our Food and Drink.    I suggest that each of us use this marvelous discourse as a teaching moment, to deepen our relationship with Jesus’ Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament.  Even for many of us cradle Catholics, we can become complacent and lose our focus.  Mass becomes another thing we do in the midst of a busy week.

This week and next, I will offer a few suggestions for preparing our hearts and minds.  First, Prepare the readings before Mass:  This means focusing on the Sunday readings, especially the Gospel, before we come to Mass.  The link for the readings is available on our website, stjohnofthecrosschurch.org , or in every bulletin (you can look them up in your own Bible).  This is worthwhile and beneficial, for it allows the Holy Spirit to touch our hearts with the Living Word.  You may even wish to use the focus question found in the bulletin, and digest it a bit with an age- appropriate reflection.  Reading it together as a family, even sharing one aspect of the Gospel that strikes you,  is a worthwhile undertaking.  I strongly believe that this is the single most effective way to get more out of Mass.  The homily is a great instrument, but think of it as a diving board from which we dive into the depths of our relationship with Jesus Christ.

A common mantra is ‘I don’t get anything out of Mass.’  Perhaps during these weeks, we can share what we ‘put into’ Mass – the gift of ourselves, thoughtful, active, and conscious in our preparation and participation.

Yours in the Bread of Life,

Fr. Dennis J. Vincenzo




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