WE ARE AN EASTER PEOPLE

Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection are the most important events in all of history. Everything before those days was leading up to those days. Everything following those days is the opportunity to live the graces of those days, the grace of having the risen Jesus in our lives.

We could presume that the first person to see Jesus risen from the dead was his own mother Mary. The Gospels tell us about Jesus appearing to the apostles, Mary Magdalene and many others. In the Gospel today (John 20:1-9) we heard of Mary Magdalene, Peter and John seeing Jesus’ empty tomb and later in that chapter John tells us about Jesus’ appearing to them that day. In our first reading from Acts, Peter said that the Father “granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” (Acts 10:40-41)

The life of Jesus and the meaning of his passion, death and resurrection has been impacting people ever since those days, more and more people every year. If you throw a stone into a pond it will cause a ripple to spread out more and more until eventually is gets to the edges of the pond and the entire pond has been affected. The graces of the death and resurrection of Jesus have been spreading out to more and more people ever since.

Those who were not privileged to see Jesus risen had their lives touched and impacted by those who did see Jesus and enjoyed the graces of the risen Jesus in their lives. Peter saw Jesus risen and his preaching impacted so many others. We read that three thousand people were baptized after Peter’s preaching at Pentecost (Acts 2:41).

Jesus continued to be present after his resurrection, present through those who witnessed to him, present in the life of the Church. If you want to meet Jesus after his resurrection, the place to meet him is where the Church gathers. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus learned that Jesus was with them as he explained the Scriptures to them and then broke bread with them (Luke 24:13-35). Those two disciples learned that celebrating the Eucharist is where you can find Jesus.

Jesus continues in the Church. This is expressed beautifully in the letter to the Ephesians where the Church is described as the Body of Christ and Christ is the head and the whole body is joined to him (Eph 4:15-16).

How then can anyone who cuts himself or herself off from the life of the Church enjoy the fullness of Christ’s life? After Jesus’ resurrection, the place to find him is in the Church.

On Good Friday, we hear about the blood and water from Christ’s side on the cross symbolizing the sacraments, especially baptism and Eucharist, originating from Christ on the cross. That life of grace from the side of Christ continues in the Church to all who receive his sacraments. When you receive a sacrament you meet Christ just as the apostles met Jesus risen from the dead. The sacraments are encounters with Christ. After Jesus’ resurrection, the place to find the risen him is in the Church, especially in his sacraments.

We also find Jesus in the Church in the community of people who gather every week to worship God. Those who allow Jesus to touch them, allow Jesus to transform them to become more like Christ, and allow us to encounter Christ through the sincerity of their lives given to Jesus. A beautiful experience is to encounter someone who is close to the Lord, and when you meet that person you know you are in some way meeting Jesus. This is experiencing the risen Jesus continuing in the Church. Meeting people like that assures us that saying “Jesus continues in the Church” is not just words, but is true because we have experienced Jesus ourselves. Jesus continues in the Church. We know because we have experienced Jesus in the Church.

When we experience Jesus present with us, Jesus continuing in the Church, everything changes. What we heard in our second reading makes so much sense:  If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Col 3:1-3)

There is a new way to live when we have Jesus in our lives. There is a way to live that is incompatible with having Jesus in our lives and there is a way to live that reflects having Jesus in our lives. If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Col 3:1-3)

 

This beautiful homily was shared with us by Rev. Tommy Lee

 

 

 

SAINT OF THE MONTH: St. Frances of Rome

Francesca dei Roffredeschi was born in Rome in 1384, a time when the city was, arguably, at its worst. With a population of only about 25,000, it was no longer a center of power and international commerce. The popes had long departed to Avignon, France. The skyline was littered with the ruins of once spectacular structures. Wild animals ran free through the overgrowth dominating the city. When Francesca was 13, her parents arranged for her to be married to the wealthy and aristocratic commander of the city’s army.

Her husband’s family estate would be her home for the next 40 years and when her mother-in-law passed away, Francesca was entrusted with running the estate. She and her husband would have six children. The estate included her husband’s brother and his family, and Francesca discovered that her sister-in-law shared her devout faith and passion to serve the less fortunate. Together they devoted themselves to ministering to the poor and the sick.

Francesca and her sister-in-law even turned part of the family estate into a hospital and distributed food and clothing to the poor from there.

In time, they inspired other women to join them in their ministry. The papacy returned to Rome in 1420 and the city’s revival would begin. In 1425, Francesca established a society of women committed to serving the sick and the poor. She employed the Rule of St. Benedict for the community, but without taking vows. They were known as the Oblates of Mary.

Eight years later she established a convent for the women who wished to live in community and in the same year, they received papal approval to establish a formal religious congregation. The community eventually became known as the Oblates of St. Frances of Rome.

After her husband’s death in 1436 Francesca herself entered the convent and became its superior until her own death on March 9, 1440.

She was buried in the church now called Santa Francesca Romana, where her relics still rest and where there is a recumbent statue of her sculpted by Bernini. St. Frances of Rome is the patron saint of widows and motorists. During her life, she is said to have had a recurring vision for several years of her guardian angel using a lantern to light the road in front of her when she drove her wagon, keeping her safe from hazards. It is thought that this may be the reason why she was named patron saint of motorists by Pope Pius XI.

 

COMMUNAL PENANCE SERVICES (with Private Confessions) in Neighboring Parishes

 Monday, March 26 @ 6:30 p.m. at St. Mark, San Marcos

Tuesday, March 27 @ 6:00 p.m. at St. Peter, Fallbrook

 

 

The Life-Long Commitment of Marriage

In this weekend’s bulletin, you’ll see a special section dedicated to marriage. St. Mary’s is here to walk with you on your sacramental journey, and we encourage you to learn more about all the resources we offer to support you and your spouse (scroll to the bottom of the page to view all our Marriage and Family Life Ministries). Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll find in the bulletin this weekend:

Pope Francis Speaks to us on The Life-Long Commitment of Marriage:
“Today, there are those who say that marriage is out of fashion. Is it out of fashion? In a culture of relativism and the ephemeral, many preach the importance of ‘enjoying’ the moment. They say that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, making a definitive decision, ‘forever’, because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, I ask you to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes you are incapable of responsibility, that believes you are incapable of true love. I have confidence in you.
– Address to World Youth Day volunteers, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 28th, 2013

Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend
Restore Communication, Renew Commitment and Rekindle Romance in your marriage! You are capable of true love. Take this on opportunity as husband and wife to develop a more intimate knowledge, understanding and acceptance of each other through the use of open and loving communication in an environment free from distractions and stress of everyday life. Make the time to explore the important areas of your life with your spouse in a spirit of love and understanding.  Contact www.wwme.org for dates and registration information.

The Retrouvaille Weekend – A lifeline for Marriages
Husbands and wives who have drifted apart, or are being torn apart by terrible wounds or actions – discover, together, how to listen, communicate and forgive.  If you are one of many couples struggling to stay together or have even separated or divorced, but want to try again,  Retrouvaille can help. If you have the desire to try again, hold on to your family and build a stable loving marriage, reach out to  www. HelpOur Marriage.com  or call 1-800-470-2230

Embracing the Cross of Jesus Christ

The Lenten season offers us a unique opportunity to focus more intently on the gift of the cross. Do you ever think about how you experience the cross of Jesus Christ?

Do you ever think about the power of that cross in your daily life? Is the cross even relevant to your life? It is to stewards of the Lord, who recognize the hope Christ brings through the gift of his cross. They acknowledge that for them, the cross is their only hope.

Being good stewards of our life in Christ is not easy, but to embrace the cross is not only countercultural, it seems absurd. Then again, we cannot avoid what Jesus said to his disciples: If you wish to come after me you must deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow me. For if you wish to save your life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake you will save it (Luke 9:23-24).

The cross is more readily embraced by people of faith who suffer, are poor, broken, or are the victims of such things as violence, oppression or natural disaster.

They see the cross as the hope that no matter what has happened to them, God will see them through. The Father did it for Jesus who hung on the cross, so surely their sufferings will be redeemed by Jesus’ sufferings.

Where people possess much material abundance, comfort and leisure, however, there is a tendency to de-emphasize the cross, to draw away from it. They can’t touch it or feel it so they wish to “save” their lives by looking to other things: power, wealth, fame, relevance, being the center of attention.

What is preached about the cross from the pulpit sounds good, but in reality something more tangible is desired. Christ emptied himself completely in humble obedience, allowing himself to suffer and die out of compassion for the world (Phil. 2:6-11).

Good stewards follow his example and work day-to-day to empty themselves and live compassionately; most noticeably by sharing their lives with others.

As we approach the climax of our liturgical year, the Easter triduum, let us ask the Holy Spirit for an even deeper awareness of the cross in our lives. Let u   s find hope in the cross and pray that as we embrace it, we too will experience in a special way the joy of new life in the risen Lord.

 

You are encouraged to come to a meditative Taize Service on Tuesday, March 27.   You will have the opportunity to reflect and meditate on the Seven Last Words spoken by Jesus on the cross.  Church doors open at 6:30 p.m. for this candle-lit evening of music, scripture, and prayer.

 

COMMUNAL PENANCE SERVICES (with Private Confessions) in Neighboring Parishes

Tuesday, March 20 @ 12 noon at St. Francis, Vista

Tuesday, March 20 @ 6:30 p.m. in English, Spanish, Vietnamese at St. Francis, Vista

Wednesday, March 21 @ 7:00 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Seton, Carlsbad

Thursday, March 22 @ 6:30 p.m. at St. James, Solana Beach

Friday, March 23 @ 6:30 p.m. in Spanish at St. Mark, San Marcos

Monday, March 26 @ 6:30 p.m. at St. Mark, San Marcos

Tuesday, March 27 @ 6:00 p.m. at St. Peter, Fallbrook

 

SELF-STUDY: Getting to Know The Lord

This is the final week of our self-study.  What are you doing to better know the Lord?  Here are some useful suggestions for you to consider:

Pray daily.  Spend time with God in a quiet place, sharing not only your anxieties and fears, but also your joy and happiness.  Share your thankfulness for the many blessings He has bestowed on you.  Ask for God’s guidance before making decisions.  Listen and prayerfully discern all the possibilities.

Attend Mass regularly, weekly if possible.  Mass is a priority to practicing our faith and is vital to our faith formation.  Besides sharing the celebration of the Mass with a faith-filled community, coming to Mass affords you the opportunity to connect on a personal level with that community.  Once this is accomplished, even on a very basic level, your feeling of engagement grows exponentially.   Now you are getting the full experience.

Pray the Rosary at least once a week, preferably as a family.  If you don’t remember how to pray the Rosary, you can find an app on your phone that will help you.  Or you can stop by the parish office and get a guide for this devotion.  We also have free rosaries available for you and your family in the church vestibule and the parish office.  I have heard so many stories about how life-changing it is to pray the Rosary on a regular basis.

Offer a prayer of gratitude before meals, even in public.  Don’t be afraid to live your faith out loud.

Enrich your knowledge of God and His Word by reading a spiritual book, listening to Catholic radio, or joining a Scripture Study.   One year for Lent I thought about what really brought me pleasure, and I decided it was reading.  I almost gave up reading for 6 weeks, but instead vowed to read only books based in scripture.  It was amazing how many good books are available about the life of Christ, Saints, Old Testament times, etc.   Think outside the box.

Every day, make a conscious effort to get to know others, yourself, and the Lord.

 

 

COMMUNAL PENANCE SERVICES (with Private Confessions) in Neighboring Parishes

Tuesday, March 20 @ 12 noon at St. Francis, Vista

Tuesday, March 20 @ 6:30 p.m. in English, Spanish, Vietnamese at St. Francis, Vista

Wednesday, March 21 @ 7:00 p.m. at  St. Elizabeth Seton, Carlsbad

Thursday, March 22 @ 6:30 p.m. at St. James, Solana Beach

Friday, March 23 @ 6:30 p.m.  in Spanish at St. Mark, San Marcos

Monday, March 26 @ 6:30 p.m. at St. Mark, San Marcos

Tuesday, March 27 @ 6:00 p.m. at St. Peter, Fallbrook

Our parish will continue to hear private confessions every Saturday during Lent, beginning at 8:00 a.m.

 

Self-Study: Getting to Know Ourselves as a Child of God

This weekend we celebrate the 3rd Sunday of Lent.  Hopefully you have “found a rhythm” and are living the spirit of the Lenten Season.

This is a good time to be introspective.  It is said that you have to love yourself before you can love others.  The flight attendants tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting your child or companion.  This is against our basic instincts.  I know I would lay my life down for my children.  But, when thinking clearly, I know I would be of no use to them if I passed out from oxygen deprivation!  Right?

So, your spiritual life is very similar.  We need to examine who we are before we can be an example for others.

What are our spiritual goals?  Are you actively doing what you can  to live your life as the Best Version of Yourself?   Have you considered that REALLY & TRULY, everything you have and everything you are is a Gift from God.  God made you unique and gave you gifts that, combined with your uniqueness, can benefit yourself and others in a special way.

Are you proud to be a Catholic?  Are you willing to talk about your faith with others? Are you willing to articulate what is special about the Catholic church that you can’t find in other churches?

Do you receive the Sacraments on a regular basis?  Have you prepared yourself beforehand?

When you prepare to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation,  do you do a thorough Examination of Conscience?  Do you think about why you continue to commit the same sins every time?

Do you make a sacrificial offering each week to support the needs of your parish and the greater church?  Have you considered giving a Designated Gift to a parish ministries, i.e. Feed My People, Stewardship, Faith Formation?

Do you listen to Catholic radio?  Do you watch faith-based movies?  Attend Bible Study, Adult Faith Formation series, Soup & Scripture?

With the weeks remaining in Lent, I encourage you to continue to review the steps you can take to Get to Know Yourself better as a Child of God.

 

COMMUNAL PENANCE SERVICES (with Private Confessions) in Neighboring Parishes

Tuesday, March 13 @ 7:00 p.m. at Nativity, Rancho Santa Fe

Friday, March 16 @ 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary Star of the Sea, O’side

Tuesday, March 20 @ 12 noon at St. Francis, Vista

Tuesday, March 20 @ 6:30 p.m. in English, Spanish, Vietnamese at St. Francis, Vista

Wednesday, March 21 @ 7:00 p.m. at  St. Elizabeth Seton, Carlsbad

Thursday, March 22 @ 6:30 p.m. at St. James, Solana Beach

Friday, March 23 @ 6:30 p.m. in Spanish at St. Mark, San Marcos

Monday, March 26 @ 6:30 p.m. at St. Mark, San Marcos

Tuesday, March 27 @ 6:00 p.m. at St. Peter, Fallbrook

Our parish will continue to hear private confessions every Saturday during Lent, beginning at 8:00 a.m.