Time to Rebuild

(March 14, 2021)

Bottom line: Jesus wants to bring us back to Jerusalem, our true home. It's time to rebuild.

Today we celebrate Laetare Sunday. The name comes from the Latin word, Rejoice! In the Gospel Jesus gives us an astonishing reason to rejoice:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.

The great way we receive Jesus is by Communion. When you come forward, bow when the person in front of you receives Jesus. Then remove your mask. The priest or minister will hold the Host in front of you and say "The Body of Christ". Extending your hands, respond, "Amen". When you take Jesus in your hand, step aside and with your right hand reverently place Our Lord in your mouth. You have accepted Jesus into your body and soul - that you might have eternal life.

We want our celebration of the Eucharist to be as reverent as possible. For that reason, on the past three Saturdays we have had training for Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers and Acolytes. Today I will commission Extraordinary Ministers of Communion and bless lectors and acolytes. I will also extend the blessing to other liturgical ministers, including sacristans, music and hospitality.

The pandemic has affected participation in the liturgy. We have felt isolation and distance - especially from what is most important: participation in the Eucharist. We can identify with the Psalm:

By the streams of Babylon
we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.

The Book of Chronicles (that we read today) tells about the deportation of the Jews to Babylon and their eventually return under the Persian King Cyrus. He declares, "Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD, the God of heaven, has given to me, and he has also charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever, therefore, among you belongs to any part of his people, let him go up, and may his God be with him!" Now, King Cyrus was being a little grandiose, but still the Jews in Babylon welcomed this was wonderful news. Even though it meant a 1700 trek across difficult desert roads, they could finally return to Jerusalem and start rebuilding the temple.

We face something similar. As our seniors and others receive the vaccine, they are beginning to return to Mass. We want to welcome them. We need them to rebuild our parish as we begin to recover from this devastating pandemic and lockdown.

With that I recognize a group vital to our rebuilding effort. I'm talking about those who will receive the Easter sacraments: baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. Today they receive the Second Scrutiny. It's about release from captivity - not the the Babylonian Captivity, but Satan's captivity. Jesus wants to bring us back to Jerusalem, our true home. It's time to rebuild. Amen.


Spanish Version (Word document)

From the Archives (Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year B)

2018: Finding Hope When Life Hurts Week 4: Believe
2015: New Mind and Heart Week 4
2012: Everthing Matters - Except Everything
2009: The Beauty of Humility
2006: A Passion Which Transforms
2003: No Refuge from the Love of God
2000: The Memory of God

Year A (RCIA):

The Second Scrutiny (2020)
Best Lent Ever Week 4: Become a Continuous Learner (2017)
Prayer and Spiritual Combat Week 4 (2014)
Sight (2011)
Small Gesture with Enormous Promise (2008)
Seeing and Knowing (2005)
Men Who Went Blind (2002)
Fatal Blindness (1999)

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Kurt Nagel
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

Parish Picture Album


MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru