Dear Parishioners & Friends of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish,
Today, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This last Sunday in Ordinary Time (we call this time Ordinary because it is not Advent, not Christmas, not Lent, not the Triduum and not Easter, the other liturgical seasons of the year).
Lord knows, 2020 has been anything BUT ordinary! So, it is fitting to end the church year worshipping as we always do, our Lord Jesus Christ, who has been so very present in our lives, including during this worldwide pandemic. For me, it is precisely during the challenging times in my life, when I have felt and we all have felt desperate, down, isolated, forgotten, sick, worried, troubled, angered, disappointed, cheated or discouraged, that my prayer has been more of a request for the Lord to show himself to me and help me tangibly realize his presence and his actions in my life.
It has been a tough year for us all and we have all tried to give each other extra space and extra patience, which are just the things we often ask for in prayer, aren’t they? We’ve all experienced loss this year, whether it be a loss of a loved one, the loss of employment, loss of worshipping together, the loss of gathering with friends, or loss of the routine of everyday life and the sense of “normalcy” for which we all yearn. And losses need to be mourned as part of the healing process. I’ve been thinking lately about how the holes left in my life from the losses of 2020 have been filled. I am grateful I have lost most of the pounds put on in the earlier stay-at-home spring shutdown (!), but there is much more room for improvement there. We can use so many things, healthy and unhealthy, to fill these holes. Yet, I have also come to realize that perhaps in this time of loss, the Lord is inviting us, individually and collectively, to allow Him to fill the COVID-induced potholes with His grace, with His encouragement and love and with His peace. With our eyes uncovered and our souls receptive, there’s that standing invitation to be nourished with the Eucharist, received by desire or in person at Mass. Especially that sense of peace that the world cannot give, the sense of peace we all can have as a gift of faith. And when my soul and my mind are at peace, that sense of gratitude can really blanket my perspective on all that is happening in life. And isn’t a sense of gratitude what we may ultimately reach in the process of healing?
Although this Thanksgiving may be quite different from those in the past and however we celebrate this year, may we do so with a special sense of gratitude for all we have been through this year and ask the Lord to bless ALL of it.
May the Lord help us move forward with our lives in the new Church year, inviting that deeper and profound presence of the Lord at our sides, accompanying us each moment and loving us through whatever life has to offer. Next Sunday, we will celebrate the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the new Church year.
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy New Year, full of blessings!
via: St. Thomas the Apostle Sunday Bulletin: https://stapostleparish.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/St-Thomas-the-Apostle-bulletin-11222020.pdf