Would you believe that 400 days have lapsed since I last shared my reflections with you?
I had hoped to sing, yes sing the opening paragraph of my reflection as a way of saying, thank you to God my Father for all that He has bestowed upon me. But as singing is restricted at this time, so I will just recite it in Latin:
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper,
Et in saecula saeculorum.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be
world without end. Amen.
I am sure that we have all had the experience of planting seeds or seedlings with great expectations of a bountiful harvest. We take time to till the soil and give it water and nourishment, and then wait for the plants to come forth and produce. Sometimes they do and sometimes they do not; and we never quite know why.
Here is a story of a “seed” that has grown to reap not only a 30-fold; or 60 or 100 but perhaps a 1,000 or more.
On December 8, 2020, we will celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Second Vatican council.
A “small seed” planted by St. Saint John XX111 on October 11, 1962 and continued after his death by St. Paul V1 concluding on December 8, 1965 which coincidentally is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
That tree that spreads its branches even further, that flowers and bears fruit, like a living plant which, on the one hand grows, and on the other has roots that cannot be cut, has become a tree and continues to bear fruit through the working of the Holy Spirit.
I wonder how many reflect on the fruits that came from Vatican II council?
The most important and essential message of the council is "The Pascal Mystery as the center of what it is to be Christian and therefore of the Christian life, the Christian year, the Christian seasons".
A few are very noticeable: - the railings where we would kneel to receive the Eucharist; the mass is now in the vernacular and not in Latin; women no longer had to cover their heads in church; the Celebrant now faces the congregation and not have his back towards us.
The re-establishment of the Diaconate. Married men called to serve, having received the Sacrament of Holy Orders and are now classified as clergy.
The little changes are numerous and would take too long to list them all.The book I have read is well over 1,000 pages listing all the changes arising from Vatican II. To list them all we would be here until next weekend services.
But most of all the involvement of the laity in all ministries, and at Nativity of Our Lord Parish, we are blessed with all who are involved.
Did you know that in your parish we also have a “seed” planted during this Pandemic?
Through the generosity of a parishioner, we have a wonderful education tool called “FORMED”.
During the lockdown, with the guidance of Fr. Michael and our youth minister Courtney Strom, using zoom, we embarked on a learning course called “LECTO DIVINA” (Divine Reading) by Dr. Tim Gray Ph. D, president of St. Augustine Institute, with about 30 parishioners, completing the six week course on June 30, 2020.
There is a lot of material available for everybody, even for our younger members of our parish.
The late Egyptian actor Omar Sharif, who some will remember for his role in Doctor Zhivago, gives an excellent portrayal of St Peter, in the movie called ‘Life of St. Peter’.
All details as how to sign on to ‘FORMED’ is available on:
the parish website: www.myparish.org.
The message in all of today’s readings is quite clear.
The word of God is like seed sown with the expectation of reaping a good harvest that is, guiding mankind to live according to the teachings of God and the Church.
Our heart and mind, soul, and body, in other words, our entire being is like the soil.
Are we really listening, absorbing, and following through with what God is telling us?
In the second reading from St. Paul’s to the Romans we hear , he says, "we know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even now...” Look at all of the natural disasters occurring all over the world lately: hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and fires.
And the Pandemic we are now all facing together.
Could this be God's way of getting our attention to return to Him with all our heart and mind, soul, and body?
May God bless you all.
Deacon Gerry Almeida