Praised be Jesus Christ! A few weeks ago at the 7:00 p.m. Saturday evening Mass at Saint John’s a unique event took place. It was just at the time of the Doxology (i.e. when the priest sings “Through Him, with Him, and in Him . . .”) when a person walked into the back of the church and began dropping coins into the metal money box. As you can imagine, the noise echoed throughout the entire church. At first we were perplexed as to what was happening. But because the guy had a lot of change and was happily taking his time dropping coins one at a time into the box, we were able to figure out the cause of the distraction. I am proud to announce that I did not look back and scowl at the person – I only saw his back as he left church. My guess is that he had cleaned his couch that weekend (it was the beginning of March Madness) and decided to do something for God! Which leads us to the topic for this weekend’s bulletin: what to do with distractions and things that irritate us during Mass? The usual list of irritants includes people who come late and/or leave early; when cell phones go off or are being used, this too upsets people. Some think the time before Mass should be used to catch up on local news or read the bulletin. Finally, there are the folks who cough or sneeze into their hands but still are very intent on exchanging a rather slippery sign of peace. If I missed the aspect of parish life that bothers you, I’m sorry but we’d be here all day if I listed them all! Because it’s Divine Mercy Sunday, we’re invited to offer these irritations to God as a true experience of redemp- tive suffering. The Mass is the most saving activity on the plan- et, so it stands to reason that the devil would try to distract us or discourage us from coming. While we aspire to the Heaven- ly Liturgy, we’re still on earth and so we come far short of hit- ting the mark. We can each examine our conscience and ask God if we have some irritating habit that could be overcome for the good of the order. For example, when I cough I turn off the lapel microphone and try to always cover my mouth with my left hand – this keeps my right hand free of germs for the time of distribution of Holy Communion. Others work hard to overcome shyness so as to be more welcoming of visitors as well as regular parishioners. Finally, some people are learning about the option on a cell phone that replaces the ringtone with a very subtle buzz. Of course, there is still the wonderful possi- bility of using the power button to turn your cell phone off com- pletely for the duration of Mass. But for those who are now experiencing a tightening of the arteries, baby steps are fine . . . . just flip your phone to buzz or prepare yourself for public embarrassment. Divine Mercy Sunday gives us a chance to be truly merciful – Jesus is the measure and source of mercy and He grants these graces preeminently in the Sacraments. Christ the King will be hosting a Divine Mercy prayer service on Sun- day from 1:00-3:00 p.m. We’ll begin with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by a 30 minute presentation by Sister Mary Veronica (who is founding a religious order based on Jesus’ appearances to Saint Faustina). Confessions will be available for the duration and we’ll conclude with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and Benediction. For the record, if you went to confession during Lent you’re not required to go again (unless you’re not in the state of sanctifying grace) to receive the ex- traordinary Divine Mercy grace (which is like a second Baptism). Merciful people handle the quirks of parish life better and are more equipped to offer their sufferings to Christ. If you feel your patience waning, join us on Sunday at Christ the King in Spencer for prayers and devotion. Afterwards Father Sedlacek is treating everyone to a Root Beer Float at the new A&W – nothing says mercy like a free treat (I have not asked Father about this because I didn’t want him to say ‘no’)! May God convert our complaining spirit to one of heroic suffering in the Spirit of Christ His Son!
Your friend in Christ, Father Martin