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Parish Daily Update 4/2/21

Dear Parish Family,

“And my soul shall live for him, my children serve him.  They shall tell of the Lord to generations yet to come, declare his faithfulness to peoples yet unborn:  ‘These things the Lord has done.’”  

~Psalm 22:31-32

ALL HOLY THURSDAY, GOOD FRIDAY, EASTER VIGIL AND EASTER SUNDAY MASSES ARE FILLED TO CAPACITY!!  There will be no room for “walk-ins”.  If you were unable to make reservations, the 8:00 Mass on Easter Sunday will be recorded and posted to email and to our Facebook page “St. Joseph – Gluckstadt” around noon on Sunday.  You can join us at home – your “domestic church” – for the celebration of our Lord’s Resurrection!!

Last year, our churches were closed down during Holy Week and Easter due to Covid.  We are so grateful to be able to celebrate these most holy days of the year this year.  As you come to Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil, you will notice some differences from the “usual” Masses and Services due to pandemic protocols.  Our directives from the Vatican and from our Diocese state:

Holy Thursday:  “The washing of feet, which is already optional, it to be omitted.”

                                “At the end of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper the procession with the Blessed

                                Sacrament to the place of repose is to be omitted and the Blessed Sacrament

                                is to be kept in the tabernacle.”

Good Friday:      “There should be no individual veneration of the Cross by members of the

                                congregation.”    (Father Kevin will venerate the Cross and then the Cross will

                                be displayed during a time of silence for congregational veneration from your

                                pews.)

Easter Vigil:         “The preparation and lighting of the fire is omitted, the Paschal Candle is lit in

place in the sanctuary, the procession is omitted.”   (The Paschal Candle will be

lit at the altar.  No individual congregational candles will be lit.  Father Kevin

will proceed with the Easter Proclamation after lighting the Paschal Candle.)

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me!!  Again, even with these slight changes, we are VERY GRATEFUL to be able to gather together in prayer and celebration once again!  

The Parish Office will be closed Easter Monday.

God bless,

Pam

Holy Saturday at the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter   

For all the readings on the Easter Vigil Please visit:   

Holy Saturday At the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter | USCCB   

Epistle:  Romans 6:3-11

Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.
For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection. We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin. For a dead person has been absolved from sin. If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more;
death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all;
as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.   

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23   

R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
The right hand of the LORD has struck with power;
the right hand of the LORD is exalted.
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.
R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.   

Gospel:  Mark 16:1-7   

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome 
bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. Very early when the sun had risen,
on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, 
“Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up,
they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large. On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.’”   

Homily

“Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”  Mark 16:1-7 

Living in hope   

We wish. We dream. We imagine.   

We wish for a great new car. We dream for a successful career. We imagine being someone’s great love.   

But wishes and dreams alone don’t get us very far.   

What we seek is hope.   

Hope is the mindset that we possess the resources and skills to make those wishes a reality — but hope is also the conviction that our dreams are worth the hard work and sacrifice to make them happen, no matter the cost, no matter how long it takes.   

Easter is the feast of such hope.   

It is hope — a small spark of hope, perhaps — that compels Mary and her two companions to the tomb. They have no idea how they will get into the tomb to complete Jesus’ burial. But their love and compassion for their slain teacher and friend — love and compassion that he taught them — compels them to go to the tomb Easter Sunday morning.   

And they are the first to hear that hope is not dead.   

In raising his Son from the dead, God calls us to hope. God affirms Jesus’ Gospel of humble and selfless service to others. God reveals his continued presence in our midst despite the devastation and violence that swallow us up.   

Novelist Barbara Kingsolver writes in her book Animal Dreams: “The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”   

We dream of a solution to the problems challenging society – but living in hope is to volunteer, to study the issues, to actually be part of the solution.   

We imagine a more unified, less divisive world — but living in hope is to act with kindness and understanding, to be the means of reconciliation and peace within our own families, communities and churches.   

We wish to be spared the virus — but living in hope is to wear a face mask, keep our distance, offer our help to the sick and suffering, trusting that our sacrifice will bring health and healing.   

Yes, we can wish and dream and imagine — and remain stuck in our Good Friday crypts.   

So, this Easter let us begin to dare to live in hope — hope that frees us from our graves of fear and anxiety, that pulls us out of our graves of denial and cynicism. Let us live our lives in the hope of grace: that, in the Christ who “goes before” us, we can transform our Galilees into the Kingdom of God’s justice and mercy.  

Elie Wiesel tells a story about a Rabbi who went to the forest when misfortune threatened his people.  Once there he would light a fire and say a special prayer.  Invariably the misfortune would be averted. 

Years later when this rabbi’s disciple also wanted to intercede for the people, he went to the same place in the forest and would say “Master of the Universe listen!  I do not know how to light the fire, but I am still able to say the prayer.”   And his plea was heard. 

Later still another rabbi went into the forest and said, “I do not know how to light the fire, I do not know the prayer, but I know the place and I hope this is enough.”  And it was. 

Still later it fell to an old rabbi to overcome misfortune.  Sitting in his chair at his home, head in his hands, he said to God, “I cannot even find the place in the forest.  All I can do is to tell the story, and I pray this is sufficient.”  And it was. 

Wiesel’s conclusion was that God made us because he loves stories. 

This evening we have gathered in the holy place, we have lit the fire, and we have recited the prayers.  But most importantly we have told the story.  And what a story it is!  The tale that is told tonight encompasses all the temporal dimensions of our lives.  It looks to the past to ground us in our faith tradition: it anticipates a future when the final glorious chapter will be written; it touches our hearts in the present, kindling fire within us, the fire of a livelier faith. 

Any good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and a reversal or turning point, and so does ours tonight.  The beginning is creation, the middle is salvation, and the end is glorification, the reversal or turning point is Jesus’ triumph over the forces of evil, sin and death.  This is the story we celebrate in a special way this evening. 

And the main characters for us tonight are these faithful women on their way to the tomb.  The problem confronting the women on their way to Jesus’ tomb was not a minor one.  Who will roll the stone away?  How did the three of them expect to get beyond that rock? This was no little rock.  Tombs in the Gospel times were large caves in which several bodies could be laid to rest.  The entrance to the cave would then be closed off with a large stone — large enough to guarantee that bodies would remain undisturbed.  Yet Mary, Mary of Magdala, and Joanna would not be deterred by a stone.  They were focused on their task — to properly and faithfully complete the burial of their slain friend and teacher.  Their compassion and love would not be blocked by a stone. 

When it comes to living our faith, we often find stones in our way.  The stones may be social convention, what other people think, the quest for power or profit, the fear of humiliation and ridicule.  But Jesus’ resurrection is the complete victory of reconciliation, love, humility, and selflessness over the stones of sadness, despair, and hatred.  In our Easter celebration of the women’s discovery of the rolled away stone, we come to realize that such stones in our lives are obstacles only if we let them be.  

In the Gospel we are told that when the apostles first heard the story, they thought it was nonsense and did not believe.  We know that it is certainly true today that there are many in our society who have heard the story and concluded that it is nonsense and do not believe.  But the church emerged from a small group who told the story over and over again.  We stand in that tradition tonight.  We have found the place, lit the fire, and have told the story.  We search for the Living One, not among the dead but among the living.  Tonight, we see Him in those baptized, confirmed and those with whom we share this Eucharist.  So tonight, we roll away the stone that entombs the love and hope of God buried within us.  Tonight, we recognize Jesus raised up among us.  Tonight, we ask God to roll away the stones that prevent us from experiencing the miracle of the Resurrection. 

What does it mean for our world, our personal world, yours and mine, that Jesus has risen?  For centuries people have celebrated this day.  Have welcomed the new light into the church, recounted the deeds our God has done in the past, and staked everything on the Resurrection.  The early Christians staked everything on the Resurrection, so much so that the apostle Paul wrote in the first letter to the Corinthians, ” And if Christ has not been raised our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (15:14)   

Father of unfathomable compassion, re-create us in the love you loosed upon the world in the passion, death and resurrection of your Son. Never let us lose hope that your love can transform the darkest nights of our lives into the glorious morning of Easter joy. May the compassion we behold this night illuminate all of our darkest nights; may the empty tomb be our hope that we can rise from the sadness and despair that entomb us; may we know the hope of your Risen Son’s walking in our midst in the love and forgiveness of family and friends.   

An Act of Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe that You are present
in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
I ask You to come spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You, trusting that you are already there and I unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.  Amen. 

Extra     

If you tour the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, a park ranger will guide you through its passages along trails flooded with electric lights.  Eventually you will reach a large chamber deep in the bowels of the earth and take a seat for a brief lecture on the cave system.  And then the ranger flips off the lights. 

You are surrounded by unimaginable blackness.  You wait for a few minutes for your eyes to grow accustomed to the dark; then you realize that there is absolutely no light for the best night vision to detect.  Around you people stir restlessly; and a child begins to sob.  Finally, your guide strikes a match, and its tiny flame flares with blinding brightness. 

No way can we create such impenetrable darkness in this church.  Light seeps in from the street, and night lights on the rectory; the fire department will be after me if I extinguish the exit signs.  Nonetheless, we began tonight’s celebration in as much darkness as we could manage, and watched the light of the risen Christ spread from the Easter candle to the tapers in our hands.  Rather than the blinding flash of the resurrection, we watched a warm glow spread among us.  But the reality is the same: the light of this flame overcomes the darkness. 

We know darkness well enough.  We know the darkness of human sinfulness: 

– Hatred, ravages the world with war and oppression. 

– Wealthy nations live in selfish greed while millions starve. 

– Violence stalks our street and infiltrates our homes. 

– Commitments fail and relationships crumble. 

We know the darkness of pain and sorrow.  Our first breath erupts in a cry; our last very often escapes in a moan.  We know the darkness of death.  People we love disappear from our eyes; and we dread going into the darkness ourselves. 

But the good news of Easter is that Jesus has triumphed over the darkness, over sin and evil – and so will we if we open our hearts to his Easter power.  The good news of Easter is that every Good Friday in our lives can be turned into an Easter Sunday.  The good news of Easter is that nothing can defeat us anymore – not pain, not sorrow, not even death.  The good news of Easter is that Jesus will work a miracle in our lives this very day if we will but open our hearts to his Easter power. 

What miracle might you ask Jesus to work in your life this Easter day?  How might you open your heart to let the Risen Jesus do this? 

The light of Christ shines in our world; when we show kindness and compassion, when we work for reconciliation in our lives, when we visit the sick and comfort the sorrowing, when we respond to the needs of the poor, when we speak for the oppressed and the forgotten.