Holy Week Pastor Letter 2020

Dear Parish Family,

May the Lord truly watch over you and protect you with peace during this Holy Week. We apologize for not having palm to distribute. The company selling us palm agreed to give us credit for next years delivery. As we go through this difficult time, I was struck by the words of Father Richard Rohr, OFM and his writing on the topic, “Life is Hard:” I will now share this for your reflection and prayer.

“You have to be sick and tired of being sick and tired before recovery can begin-Twelve Step Wisdom”. All great spirituality is about what we do with pain. Creation has a pattern of wisdom: and we dare not shield ourselves from it, or we will literally loose our soul. We can obey commandments, believe doctrines, and attend church all our lives and still lose our souls if we run from the necessary cycle of loss and renewal. Death and Resurrection are lived out at every level of the cosmos, but only one species of the cosmos thinks it can avoid it – the human species.

I am afraid that many of us with privilege have been able to become very naïve about pain and suffering in the United States and the Western world. We simply don’t have time for it. However, by trying to handle all suffering through willpower, denial, medications, or even therapy, we have forgotten something that should be obvious: we do not handle suffering; suffering handles us-in deep and mysterious ways that becomes the very matrix of life and especially new life. Only suffering and certain kinds of awe lead us into genuinely new experiences. All the rest is merely the confirmations of old experience.

It is amazing to me that the cross or the crucifix became the central Christian logo, when its rather obvious message of inevitable suffering is aggressively disbelieved in most Christian countries, individuals and churches. We are clearly into ascent, achievement, and accumulation. The cross became a mere totem, a piece of jewelry. We made the Jesus symbol into a mechanical and distant substitutionary atonement theory instead of a very person and intense at-one-ment process, the very reality of love’s unfolding. We have missed out on the positive and redemptive meaning of our own pain and suffering. It was something Jesus did for us (substitutionary) but not something that revealed and invited us into the same pattern. We are not punished for our sins, we are punished by our sins ( such as: blindness, egocentricity, illusions and pride).

It seems that nothing less than some kind of pain will force us to release our grip on our small explanations and our self-serving illusions. Resurrection will always take care of itself, whenever death is trusted. It is the cross, the journey into the necessary night, of which we must be convinced, and then resurrection is offered as a gift.

In this time of suffering, we have to ask ourselves, what are we going to do with our pain? Are we going to blame others for it? Are we going to try and fix it? No one lives on this earth without it. It is the great teacher, although none of us want to admit it. If we do not transform our pain, we will transmit it in some form. How can we be sure not to transmit our pain onto others?

Prayer for our Community:

O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us to become a community that shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts longings for the healing or our world (Please add your intentions) Knowing you are hearing us better, than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in the all Holy Name of God. Amen. “

“ Help! Is definitely on my tongue as a one-word prayer when I can’t form coherent words. Help! Is what I am asking for, as I face and unpleasant future, that is preceded by a couple of unpleasant years. Help! Came on time: I am still hurting, grieving this loss of a hoped for, dreamed about, new future, but I am reminded to hang in there and yell from the depths of my soul, Help! – F. Ngunjiri.”

I send my prayers and blessings for a powerful Holy Week. “We adore you, O Christ and we bless you, because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.


Father Tom