The Sheep of Kephas

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For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2016-03-27

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Here is Bulletin_2016-03-27

Easter Triduum: We will use a quote from the USCCB Website article Triduum to open our consideration of what these three days mean to us:

The summit of the Liturgical Year is the Easter Triduum—from the evening of Holy Thursday to the evening of Easter Sunday. Though chronologically three days, they are liturgically one day unfolding for us the unity of Christ’s Paschal Mystery.

For a number of the sheep of Kephas, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper was the doorway through which they entered into these three days of Divine Mystery. All were there seeking to participate fully in this treasured experience that destroys the bonds of time and place and makes us truly present to witness the establishment of the priesthood and the institution of the Holy Eucharist. There would be no disappointment for them because that is what they witnessed last night.

Yet, lurking in the background, there were other realities. The place was wrong. Once again, the sheep were not at St. Peter’s, they were at St. John the Baptist. Yes, this has been one more year in exile; another year separated from our Parish, our spiritual community, and our friends.

080.vi@c3@a1tico-bigWhether he knows it or not, Fr. Fasano has provided safe refuge for many of the Sheep in Exile. His personal and inspiring exposition of his love for the priesthood has renewed our belief that the Sacrament of Orders was, indeed, instituted by Christ.  Father shared many of his own life stories. One was very recent. Earlier in the day, he was asked to go to High Knob to visit someone who was dying; while there he administered the Last Rites and consoled the family. He mentioned that High Knob is not an easy driving experience. But his story was not about the difficulties. His story is about what the priesthood is all about. It is to bring Christ to those in need and to open the gates of Heaven to them.

There was another reality and that reality was even more poignant for me. Although I was at Mass, listening to Fr. Fasano, my wife was not with me. This was the first time that I can recall in these many years since her conversion that she was not beside me during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. In our minds, she had a different and more important mission for that evening – she had to be in a home on High Knob to visit someone who was dying and to console her best friend of 31 years.

The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy work best when combined. On one hand, you will visit the sick and on the other, you will console the sorrowful. When you do the two together, Christ enters into your actions and sanctifies them. And, equally important, you must pray. That is why I was at Mass last night – my job was, and still is, to pray.

However, this Triduum story has other thoughts for us to consider. Fr. Fasano has his role. My wife and I have our respective roles. There is another person that is truly important in this story. My wife’s friend of 31 years has stood beside her husband in suffering far longer than these few months battling cancer. For years, her husband has been disabled by a disease that required constant attention. She could have had him placed in some type of caring facility. But she knew that he would be totally disoriented in such a place. Instead of taking the easy path, she chose the difficult path – the path of love. Not the Valentine’s day type of sweetness and smiles, she chose the path of serving the man she married through sickness and mental anguish.

Isn’t the path our friend chose the very same path that Jesus chose in the Garden while his disciples slept? He could have walked away from His cup of sorrow, but He did not. Our friend could have walked away from her cup of sorrow, but she did not.

For her, as for Mary, there will be a day of great loss and sadness. We will try to be there for her.

Yet, this is the Triduum. We know how the Triduum ends – it ends with Easter. In her heart, our friend already knows that. Let us look to the Triduum for strength and let us look to Easter for great joy!

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