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Reflections

April 16, 2017 – Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

On this happy day, the Mass for Easter has two very noticeable additions. First comes “Alleluia”, a word we have not heard for over 40 days since Ash Wednesday.  The word is derived from the Hebrew “Hallelu Jah”, which means “Praise ye, Ya.”  “Ya” is a shortened form of “Yahweh.” one of the oldest names for God.  The Alleluia is back today announcing the Gospel, and it has added significance as we praise the risen Lord and sing of His triumph.

The second addition is the annual renewal of our baptismal vows. Instead of the vicarious way they were made for most of us by our godparents at our baptism as infants, the Church invites us today to make them ourselves. Last night all the new members of our Church made them at the great Easter Vigil. The promises form a “Q and A” version of our creed. If we pay attention, we also hear ourselves making an implied resolution.  One more significant by far than any we might make at New Year’s.

April 9, 2017 – Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

This calendar year finds me celebrating 50 years as a priest. Along with my simple amazement that I have reached this point in life comes a wealth of experience and memories – along with the hope that the good Lord lets my mind stay alert to recall them!

One of my lesser recalls fits today’s liturgical scene.  It involves what choices priests have made regarding a homily after the proclamation of the Passion Account at Palm Sunday Mass.  Lay readers have to keep in mind the none too subtle pressure that a crammed parking lot puts on the preacher.  It springs from an unspoken imperative that this precious space must be cleared in time for the arrivals at the following Mass. 

April 2, 2017 – Fifth Sunday of Lent

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

     “When you wish upon a star
      Makes no difference who you are.
     Anything your heart desires
     Will come to you.”

That is the first verse of the song written in 1940 by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington for Walt Disney’s classic film “Pinocchio.”  Only after some online research did I learn that the AFI (American Film Institute) ranked it number 7 in its list of the “greatest songs in film history.”  Even more significant, the Library of Congress decided to preserve the song in its “National Recording Registry” in 2009!

March 26, 2017 – Fourth Sunday of Lent

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

Being retired, I have been sometimes called upon to cover a parish for a time when some pastor friends are in need.  The current priest shortage makes me and others like me “valuable commodities”, if you don’t mind my using an economic comparison.

At those times, it can be fun meeting new people and working as a temporary pastor without the burden of administration that goes with that title. Being a help for a brother priest is also personally satisfying. 

However (and in this life there always seems to be a “however”) there are negatives that sometimes come along with those times, as when parishioners voice their complaints about their pastor. Or when an alarm system acts up in the middle of the night and the passcode doesn’t stop it.

March 19, 2017 – Third Sunday of Lent

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

Do not ever doubt that we are social creatures.  Even the shyest of us eventually need to interact with our fellow human beings.  Talk shows on TV and Facebook online are modern examples of how and where we do so even if only virtually or secondarily.  We listen, we argue, we sympathize and speculate, laugh and lambaste, and certainly render our opinions all the time.

In Jesus’ day, meeting at the town well was like meeting at the mall or the coffee shop today.  However, the law stipulated that the sexes are not to mingle at the well.  Nor was there much business there after the morning for the women of the town, for they had their multiple household chores.  Finally, Jews and Samaritans never intermingled because religious differences between the two were strong and deep.

March 12, 2017 – Second Sunday of Lent

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

Consider the aurora borealis.  Scientists tell us that these strange and beautifully colored lights in the sky over the Artic as well as Antarctica are the result of electrons colliding with the upper reaches of earth’s atmosphere. (Please don’t ask me to explain further!)  When I see pictures of the auroras, they inspire me to call them “God’s technicolor signature”

All of this leads me to see a resemblance between this sky-bound event and the transfiguration of Jesus, when a bit of heaven shines on three humble fishermen.  The Church consistently asks for this story to be read on the second Sunday of Lent.  I find it a marvelous and hope-filled one for all of us.

March 5, 2017 – First Sunday of Lent

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

In the sport of fishing, a great deal of attention is paid to the lure, a type of artificial fishing bait designed to attract the fish’s attention.  The lure uses four things: movement, vibration, flash, and color to do the job.  Many of them are equipped with one or more hooks to catch fish when they strike the lure.  Most manufactured lures are made to look like dying, injured, or fast moving fish.  They are engineered to appeal to the fishes’ sense of territory, curiosity or aggression.

You probably see where I as a preacher am headed with all this talk of lures.  You and I are not much better than fish at times by our being lured into committing sin by all sorts of attractive temptations.  These lures are made by the devil to look like the best thing going for us.  By reason of his superior intelligence Satan knows what appeals to us.  Not what’s best for us.  So often, like the poor fish, we take the bait and are hooked.  And just like that we fail in our attempts to live as Christ would have us live.  Spiritually speaking, we soon die.  Our duty to be “fishers of men” is lost with everything else.

February 26, 2017 – Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

It’s a fact.  TV advertisers “know their stuff.”  That is, they know their audience very well when they devise their campaigns.  In a culture like ours, fraught with problems that often lead to violence with little provocation, such as “road rage,” these creative people deliver a variety of ways to avoid anxiety.  From financial security and life insurance for the future, all the way to present needs like headache relief and riddance of bad breath and body odor, there they are, ready as ever with solutions.

Anxiety is a by-product of worry, and worry springs from doubt. Doubt that we will have what we need when the time comes to face one or another of life’s contingencies.  We fear for our health, happiness, and maybe for our very lives.  Sometimes we can, as a result, even doubt God’s existence.