March 31, 2019 | Fourth Sunday of Lent

Congratulations Deacon Senovio Sarabia, Jr.! Our seminarian intern who has been with us since the fall of 2017 was ordained a transitional deacon yesterday. We are thrilled to have been a part of his preparation for ministry and this special day. His first Mass to serve as a deacon is today at 9:00AM here at Our Lady of Mercy. He will continue to be with us on weekends until school is out for the summer. This summer he will be living with Fr. Mark and myself. He will have some responsibilities here at the parish and at various diocesan events for youth during the summer. When he returns to school this fall, he will continue to be with us on most weekends and will deacon a weekend Mass and occasionally preach. Assuming Deacon Senovio passes his final courses and is recommended by the seminary, he should be ordained a priest in May 2020. We pledge our prayerful support as Deacon Senovio embraces this final period of preparation for the priesthood. And we look forward to his diaconal ministry with us!

Because we have adults to be baptized at the Easter Vigil, we use the ACycle scripture readings for Mass today even though we are in the C-Cycle readings this year. The Scrutiny’s are celebrated on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent with those to be baptized at the Easter Vigil and the prayers are based on the A-Cycle readings. Today we celebrate the 2nd Scrutiny at the 9:00AM Mass. The 3rd and final Scrutiny will be celebrated at the 10:45AM Mass next Sunday.

The C-Cycle gospel you won’t hear today is the story of the prodigal son. So, I would like to share a few thoughts about this familiar gospel. This being the 4th Sunday of Lent or “Laetare” “Rejoice” Sunday, there is much to rejoice about! Jesus addressed this story to the scribes and Pharisees because of their efforts to undermine his message. The story is of two sons who had a falling out with their father. Neither son had a grasp of his true relationship with the father. Each operated out of his own desires and suppositions. And neither was filled with joy. The younger son didn’t see what he had. He imagined that he could find a better life away from his father and family. That son broke away after demanding his inheritance. The older son also did not see what he had. However, this son stayed at home and did what was expected of him. But his heart was not in it. Inside, he may have been jealous of his brother, who had the nerve to ask for his inheritance and then skipped out to squander it on loose living. Both sons needed to return to the father – and so do we. Jesus addressed this parable to the scribes and Pharisees – and to us. We are all sinners. We are in need of God’s loving kindness, God’s ever-available mercy. Like the father in this parable, the God of love and mercy is always waiting for our return! And THAT is worth REJOICING about!

Have a Blessed Lent!

Fr Don