REFLECTIONS ON THIS WEEKEND’S READINGS:
The Gospel is from St. John 14:15-21. In this discourse at the Last Supper, which was His last will and testament, our divine Lord promised His Church, through the Apostles, that the Holy Spirit would be with it until the end of time. The Spirit of truth will be directing it and effectively aiding it to preserve the faith, the doctrine, and the morals which Christ taught His Apostles.
Looking back now over almost 2,000 years of the Church’s history we can see how this promise has been fulfilled. There were heretics and schismatics who threatened the very continuance of the Church as God’s faithful people on earth. There were crises and near catastrophes caused by the human weaknesses of its heads and its members, yet the Church survived and spread and continued to send saints to heaven because of the direct and active aid of the Holy Spirit.
During those two thousand years, great empires have risen and fallen. They had large armies and vast wealth and earthly resources at their disposal, yet they disintegrated like all things human. The names of one-time mighty men who ruled over millions are now nothing more than a nuisance for children in their history classes. The large tracts of our globe which they ruled are now divided and known by other names. This was, is, and will be the lot of all merely human enterprises. Today’s despots, where they rule with an iron hand, will share the same fate.
In the midst of all these upheavals, the Church of Christ has continued to flourish because it was directed and sustained by the Holy Spirit, who abides within it. How can we ever show enough gratitude to the three Divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity who planned so lovingly and so efficaciously for our safe journey to heaven? The Father sent His Son as man among us so that we men could become His brothers, and adopted sons of the Father. The Son suffered hardships, insults and misunderstandings during His temporary stay on earth, and ended like a crucified malefactor because of the sins of mankind. But He rose triumphantly from the dead and set up the Church as a society which would bring to men of all races, ages and colours the salvation and exaltation of mankind, which His life and death had won for us.
Knowing only too well the weaknesses and waywardness of human nature, He and the Father sent the Holy Spirit to remain with His Church as its infallible guide until the last man has entered heaven.
This is a very brief summary of what the Blessed Trinity has done, and is continuing to do for us, through the Church. We, the people of God, the chosen race of the New Testament are God’s Church on earth. It is for you and me that the Holy Spirit is at work this very day. When He guides the steps of Peter’s successor, the Pope, or the deliberations of the bishops, the heirs of the apostolic college, it is for us and for our salvation that He is acting. While we are faithful members of the Church, and of Christ’s mystical body, while we remain live branches safely attached to the vine who is Christ, we have nothing to fear; we are on the sure road to heaven, to enjoy eternal happiness with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit whom we shall thank and glorify forever.
Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan, O.F.M.
PLEASE PRAY FOR THE SICK: Lisa Lariviere, Dan Kelly, Barbara Coventry, Leonard Duff, Fran Flavelle, Earl Lepine, Annie Gaudette, Sandra Fletcher- McGuire, Roseanne Gagnon, Viola Fleury, Joanne Souliere, Patsy Lariviere, Ida-Mae Turner, Kerry Kelly, Kim Warren, Paul Dennie, and Judy Sullivan. Don’t forget to add a prayer or two for those suffering in any way from the COVID-19 virus and for those people tasked with helping to make them well again.
1) I am continuing to live stream our weekend Mass (Sunday 10 am) as well as daily times of Eucharistic Adoration (Tuesday/Wednesday 10:30 am to 2 pm; Thursday/Friday 7 to 8 pm). Please help spread the word!
2) Many thanks to those who have been contributing to the financial needs of our three churches via the Donate Widget on our Parish Blog. (www.uppontiacparishes.com) Over the past four weeks, we have received just in excess of $3,800 for all of the parishes combined through the CanadaHelps.com widget. Be assured that your individual donation has been put into the parish account of your choice. However, this process would be simpler if you would please include either your collection envelope number or the name of your parish in the comment box. Right now, Pauline is manually verifying which parish each person normally supports and calculates what needs to be transferred from Chapeau to either the St. Joseph’s or Sheenboro account. Using either your envelope number or name of your parish when you make an online contribution will make that process much simpler for her.
3) The Government of Canada has offered quite a few financial support programs for citizens who are suffering financial hardships as a result of this extended period of quarantine and social distancing. Our Diocese, which legally is one federally incorporated institution has made an application for all of the parishes to participate in the Payroll Support Program so that we can receive up to 75% of our salaried costs which will greatly alleviate the financial pressure on them. Given the complexity of applying on behalf of over 60 parishes in one application, the Diocese has engaged the services of KPMG to shepherd our request through the various hoops and hurdles we need to surmount to qualify for this program. We have been assured though that even given the length of time such a complex application requires, the government has told us that it will pay the full amount we qualify from March through to the end of August.
4) So, the big question remains: When will be able to reopen the Churches once again? I wish that I could give you an easy or quick answer, but this just isn’t yet possible. We priests have been informed by the Chancery Office in Pembroke that the Bishops Conferences of both Ontario and Quebec are in discussions with the Provincial governments to get approval for our gradual resumption of services. I will keep every apprised of any developments as soon as I hear anything definitive.
5) I am confronting another mystery, however. I offered at the end of last Sunday’s Mass to begin to live stream my private weekday Masses if there was any interest. No one contacted me to say that they wanted me to do so. I am still both willing and able to start celebrating Mass for your public intentions to be streamed online if people want me to do it. Please let me know by either calling me (819-689-5232), via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or with a text message (613-281-0872). Thank you.
6) Thank you to all the folks who extended their best wishes to me on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of my ordination as a priest! Your kind words were much appreciated.
7) Happy Victoria Day Weekend to one and all!