Reflection of this weekend’s readings:
On the Fifth Sunday of Easter Our Lord reminds that that we are called to continue his work and to achieve even greater things than he accomplished during his earthly ministry. He built his Church with growth in mind, generation after generation, founded on him and the Apostles.
In today’s First Reading the Twelve are faced with more work than they can handle, and people are starting to complain.
- The Twelve cannot take care of everyone.
- This is no surprise. Our Lord didn’t just appoint one person to carry on his work; he appointed Twelve, and, soon after, the Twelve needed helpers, and other apostles, like Paul and Barnabas, to continue the work in the face of the Church’s explosive growth.
- The Twelve asked for candidates, but they were also clear that those who would help them in the ministry needed to be “filled with the Spirit and wisdom.”
- These men would become known as the Seven, and, according to tradition, may have been the first deacons in the Church.
- The Church’s mission is not just for the clergy. Everyone is called to help according to their possibilities and state of life.
- As needs increase, each member of the Church must be dedicated to doing his or her part: bishops shepherding their dioceses, helped by priests and deacons; consecrated persons contributing according to their charism; and laity, ordering the world’s affairs in accordance with the Gospel and helping the Church in matters where they may have more expertise.
- The Holy Spirit kept the apostles faithful to the work Christ wanted them to do, and the Spirit continues to do so for all of us.
In today’s Second Reading St. Peter reminds us that through Baptism we have been incorporated into the Church and are now living stones in an edifice constructed with a spiritual and priestly purpose.
- Our Lord described himself to the Pharisees and scribes as the stone rejected by the builders that would become the cornerstone (see Matthew 21:42). They had rejected him, but the Father build the Church on him, and he made the Apostles the foundation for his Church.
- The Lord continues to build the Church through us, on the solid foundations of those living stones who have preceded us and our own efforts at holiness.
- A living stone is not just edified but edifying. We are inserted into this spiritual and social structure and helped to support it and to remain solid.
- If our works are edifying, it will attract even those who don’t know Our Lord to see where that special something we have comes from and to seek it out as well.
In today’s Gospel Our Lord, at the Last Supper, prepares his disciples for the moment when he’ll be separated from them on earth, and they’ll be expected to carry on his mission.
- He reminds them that they have a place waiting for them in Heaven, just as they have a place in his Church.
- He tells them today that they know where he is going. They know the way to the Father’s House too and don’t need him to show them.
- When the moment was right, Our Lord returned and led every one of them to the Father’s House, just as he will lead us one day.
- In the meanwhile, we have to stay the course he has taught us, and, if we get turned around, ask for directions to get back on track.
- Helping people get back on track to the Father’s House is what we’re all called to do as Christians, but to do that we must know how to get to the Father’s House.
- Christ describes himself as the “way”: we show others the way to the degree that we imitate him.
- Our Lord became flesh and put some believers on the right track, and those believers have helped him guide us ever since.
- He sent apostles to the four corners of the world, and they still carry out their mission through us.
- This is the work he said would be even greater than his ministry on earth. It spread to the entire Roman empire, then beyond its borders to the whole world.
- We’re called to continue these “greater works” that he encouraged his first disciples to do. The key is having faith in him.
1) After weeks of trial and error, we’ve finally managed to get all the equipment working together and will be live-streaming a Mass from St. Joseph’s Church every Sunday at 10 a.m. The quality of our signal should be far superior to previous weeks when we were just streaming using my iPhone. For this weekend, you can find the Mass streamed on my personal Facebook timeline. Hopefully, by next weekend, we will have things set up so that it can be seen on Facebook, YouTube, as well as on this blog. Thank you to Louis Schryer who stepped in and finally got us over the hump and on to the internet. Thanks too to a parishioner who stepped up and provided the funds needed to purchase the equipment needed to get this initiative up and running.
2) Now that we have finally got ourselves set up, I wish to put a proposition forward for your consideration. Would there be any interest in our streaming a regular weekday schedule? If you want to be able to partake in such an online offering please send me an email (email@example.com), text message (613-281-0872), or call the office (819-689-5232) and let me know. We would publish the intentions for each Mass here in the bulletin.
3) One of the services that we intend to begin broadcasting this week is a time of Eucharistic Adoration. The Blessed Sacrament will exposed and shown online on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm and on Thursday and Friday evenings from 7:00 pm to 8 pm. I am able to see how many people are taking advantage of these times of exposition and, if necessary, am open to changing this schedule. Again, let me know if you would prefer to have this opportunity to adore digitally at a different time by contacting me using the contact information above.
4) Do you have a love of the Rosary? I am looking for such a person to lead the rosary throughout the balance of May that will be broadcast from St. Joseph’s. If at all possible, I would like if someone bilingual would step forward to take on this ministry so that we can together ask our Blessed Mother to aid us, particularly during these difficult times as we are dealing with the deadly COVID-19 virus.
5) Karl’s Bakery has asked us to inform people that effective immediately, the bakery will be open for business on Sundays. This will continue throughout the summer months.
6) The Province of Quebec is lifting the roadblocks that have been in place for the last 5 or 6 weeks on the bridge to Pembroke. But this does not mean that the danger has entirely passed, and I would encourage everyone who travels into Ontario to shop to continue to practice social distancing and wearing a mask when going someplace where people gather (ie: grocery store, etc.). While the roadblocks were a bit of an inconvenience to many, it has been instrumental (and successful!) in keeping the virus out of the Pontiac. Let’s not throw this hard-won gain away by acting irresponsibly now that we can travel freely back and forth between provinces. Remember, the virus cannot travel on its own. It requires people to carry it to new places. Now is not the time to let down our guard and inadvertently bring it into our midst.
7) Many of us owe a great debt of gratitude to our local merchants who stepped up to ensure that we were able to purchase what we needed during the time that the bridge was closed. People like the staff of Conroy’s Grocery and L’Ancienne Banque Restaurant in Chapeau or the Metro Grocers in Fort Coulonge along with other local merchants went the extra mile to deal with a massive increase in demand for their products. Their implementation of delivery services and curbside service allowed us all to get what we needed without having to expose ourselves unnecessarily to the COVID-19 virus. THANK YOU to each and every merchant who went that extra mile to serve us in our time of need! Please remember to continue to support them in appreciation for the support they offered us going into the future. Our communities would be far worse off without their presence.
8) Want to offer your financial support for our parishes during this time of quarantine when our Churches are closed? You can do so via the Donation widget on the left-hand side of this page. Some people have expressed concern that a percentage of their donation will be taken by the CanadaHelps organization though. There really is no reason for their concern. A very modest surcharge of 1.5% is taken from each donation. This is far less than other crowdsourced funding services such as GoFundMe. This is because CanadaHelps is a creation of exclusively Canadian charities and non-profit organizations and is itself run on a non-profit basis. Of course, you always have the option of mailing us a cheque if you prefer. Just address your donation to: Parishes of the Upper Pontiac, P.O. Box 40, Chapeau, QC. J0X1M0. Please remember to include either your regular donation envelope number or a note indicating which parish your donation is to be directed to. You can include that information in the message box section of the online option if you choose to go that route instead of using the mail.
9) Now, saving the best news for the last: WE HAVE A NEW BISHOP!! Bishop Guy Desrochers, C.Ss.R., an auxiliary bishop of Ottawa who was serving in the Alexandria-Cornwall diocese was named by Pope Francis as our new Diocesan Bishop on May 6th. His biographical information and photo have been posted elsewhere on our parish blog (www.uppontiacparishes.com). Welcome Bishop Desrochers to our Pembroke Diocese. We look forward to your first visit to our parishes!