By Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.
Dear Parishioners and Friends:
A four year old girl was asking her mother questions. She said, “Are we going to see Granny in heaven?” (Her grandmother had died two years earlier. Yet the young girl watched videos and browsed through photos of her granny. She felt that she knew her granny.)
Her mother replied, “Yes, honey, when we die we will see Granny in heaven.” The little girl asked, “Will we come back to our own house?” “No, honey, said the mother, “We will stay with Jesus and Granny forever.”
That little girl then stood up, put her hands on her hips and sternly stated to her mother, “You mean we’re gona stay dead?”
A couple of weeks after the Resurrection someone asked Joseph of Ariathea, “Why’d you let them bury Jesus in your brand new tomb?” Joseph shrugged his shoulders as he answered, “He only needed it for the weekend!”
During that weekend we are reminded that God weeps with us on Good Friday so that we’ll be able to laugh with him after Easter Sunday.”
For many years the southern tip of Africa was called the ‘Cape of Storms.’ The waters about the cape were dreaded by sailors. In fact, sailors shunned those turbulent waters. But one day Vasco De Gama of Portugal successfully sailed around the tip of Africa and came back. It was not so bad after all. So the name was changed from the ‘Cape of Storms’ to ‘Cape of Good Hope!’
The resurrection of Christ takes the sting out of death. It brings comfort in the moment of sorrow. It gives hope when all appears hopeless. People stand next to a grave with tears in their eyes, thinking that life will never be the same without their loved one. But the minister assures us in prayer that life is not ended. Rather it is changed. And the best is yet to come.
Werner Von Braun, an aerospace engineer and space architect, wrote: “Science has found nothing that can disappear without a trace. Nature does not know extinction. All nature knows is transformation. If God applies this fundamental rule to the most insignificant part of this universe, surely it makes sense to assume that God applies it to the masterpiece of his creation. The human soul. Everything science has taught me, and continues to teach me, strengthens my belief that there is spiritual existence after physical death.”
George Burns and Gracie Allen were deeply in love. When Gracie died, George was devastated. One of the things that George kept close to him following her death was a love note that always encouraged him. The note said: “Never place a period where God has placed a comma.”
Gracie Allen reminded George and us that God’s creation is on-going. We are constantly placing periods where God has only a comma. But God is not done with us. There is more to come. In fact, ‘The best is yet to come.’
Next week, Monday thru Friday, April 24-28, the Redemptorist priests and brothers will be gathering in Tucson Arizona, for our Redemptorist Chapter. The word ‘Chapter’ is used in religious communities to mean: ‘a gathering of the members to make serious decisions about their religious lives.’
We will be examining our prayer life, our ministries and our community life. We will look at our pastoral plan. We will discuss our formation program. An integral part of the formation program will be focused on St. Gerard. It has been agreed upon by seven provincials in North America that the theology program will be in San Antonio. The students will attend the Oblate School of Theology.
The Redemptorists will lease the former convent of the School Sisters of Notre Dame at St. Gerard – what is now known as the ‘Parish Center.’ There are 25 vacant rooms and approximately 20 students will be living here at St. Gerard. These students will be coming from various cities in the United States, from Canada, the Caribbean and from Ireland.
So, next week Fathers Ruhnke, Phan, Lindsey, and myself, will be attending our Redemptorist Chapter. Deacon Joe Ocampo will be leading a 6:30 a.m. communion service throughout the week. Father Carr will celebrate the 9:00 a.m. daily Mass at the Shrine of Divine Mercy on Beethoven Street.
A blessed Easter to all.
Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.