Planted Near Running Water

“[May] Christ dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have the strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of God that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

 

The first Psalm that is chanted at the heart of today’s liturgy beautifully speaks of the happiness of the one who is planted firmly in the law of the Lord. According to the biblical vision of happiness, that grounding in the deep, rich, fertile soil of God’s goodness and provision is one of the prerequisites for human flourishing. This same theme is prominent in the first reading from Jeremiah. Self-trust, ‘seeking strength in flesh’ and turning one’s heart from God lead by contrast to a barren life in the desert, a veritable ‘lava waste’, a stagnant life without joy and without hope (cf. Jeremiah 17:5-6). St. Paul’s image in Ephesians of being “rooted and grounded in love” has always been an organic image for me that invites in the direction of the blessed happiness open to the one who lives saturated by God’s grace with deep roots stretching out towards the stream that allows for vitality and vibrancy even in adversity precisely through being in right relation to God.

As Catholics we stay planted beside running water through the Sacraments of the Church and through our personal appropriation of the grace offered through our living contact with Christ through those Sacraments from Baptism to Extreme Unction (Anointing) and Viaticum. In other words, the Sacraments are foretastes that lead us towards the eternal reward of heaven that the Lord desires for us. Happiness is the Lord’s gift to share. The gift of beatitude, insofar as it is possible in this life, is open to us through the Sacramental Dispensation. Jesus taught this throughout His life on earth; the Church still teaches this.

Let us rejoice this Sunday in the gift of the Holy Mass. For so many generations the life of the churches of Northeast Minneapolis have been planted beside the running waters—not only of the east bank of the Mississippi—but also beside the run of blood and water that flows from the side of Christ on the Cross.

 

Permit me a few practical notes:

 

+ As Lent is right around the corner. It is preeminently a season of prayer. One way that we will foster a prayerful spirit and savor the graces of the Eucharist is through Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Sundays. Beginning the First Sunday of Lent through Palm Sunday we will have quiet adoration at Holy Cross between the 7:30 and 9:30 am Masses (with confessions at 8:30 am) and at 9 am at St. Hedwig prior to the 10 am Mass. All are invited into prayerful reflection. If you have never experienced Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, come into His Presence and be still.

+ The Northeast Catholic Collective is hosting a young adult Holy Hour on Wednesday nights at St. Clement from 8:30-9:30 pm concluding with sung compline, or night prayer. The first such Holy Hour will be on Ash Wednesday, following the 8 pm Mass.  These Holy Hours will be hosted by and participated in by residents from the St. Clement Rectory, the Bethany Discernment House and 1600 4th Street—Teach for Christ House.

+ These opportunities for adoration as well as the weekly time of exposition in the River Village chapel at the St. Hedwig Campus on Thursday mornings (see p. 7 of the bulletin) will serve us well as preparation for our March 21-24 Annual Forty Hours Devotions. Stay tuned for more details on how you can keep watch with Our Eucharistic Lord.

+ This past weekend I concelebrated a Mass of Confirmation at the Cathedral of St. Paul for one of our young people in the parish. I was grateful to receive an invitation to be present. It was a remarkable site to see the cavernous Cathedral filled to capacity for the occasion with young hearts eager to be emboldened by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Although he was confirmed with St. Agnes parish with classmates from the school that he attends, it was a good reminder of our need to pray for all of our young people preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation on May 20th at the Basilica. Our prayers are with the Confirmandi, their sponsors, catechists and parents.

+ You may have received a mailing from the Catholic Services Appeal Foundation (CSAF) about their 2019 campaign that supports twenty vitally important outreach ministries in the Twin Cities. This year’s appeal is embedded in our parish homepage (www.ourholycross.org) and I invite you to consider how you are able to respond. Our CSAF commitment weekend as a parish will take place on March 2/3. I invite you to watch the brief film prior to that.

+ With Fr. Don Schwalm’s one-year anniversary of passing this past Thursday, February 14, we shared at the two St. Hedwig Masses last weekend about a number of finishing touches to bring the St. Hedwig Sanctuary Renovation project to completion. Copies of the appeal and envelopes to contribute are available at all of our campuses. Memorials have been announced for Fr. Don and Fr. Ted Guminga and additional memorials are available for other loved ones. Thank you for your generosity. You can visit www.ourholycross.org/st-hedwig-renovation for more details.

+ Speaking of Fr. Ted, the longtime and beloved pastor of St. Hedwig, this coming Friday marks the sixtieth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. February 22, 1959 marks a very special date in the history of our parish as three priests were ordained from Holy Cross and one for Holy Cross! Among those whom Archbishop William Brady ordained that day were Fr. Frank Decowski, Fr. Theodore Guminga, Fr. Edward Chmielewski and Fr. Robert Sipe. The first three were from Holy Cross parish while Fr. Sipe was assigned as the first non-Polish vicar at Holy Cross. One history of our parish describes this as “one of the happiest, proudest days in the history of our parish”. Indeed we continue to pray that the Lord of the Harvest would call young men from our parish to the Holy Priesthood.

 

- Fr. Howe