From the Pastor – May 10, 2020

Daily Mass TimesYou are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)

A few years ago a friend told me that, although he didn’t come to Sunday Mass at St. Stephen, he did receive the bulletin and read my “sermons.”  After being assured that he did go to Sunday Mass somewhere else, I told him that these bulletin reflections are rarely connected to my Sunday homilies.  Although they can be my first thoughts on the Gospel or another one of the readings, there are only rare similarities between this column and the Sunday homily.

This is one of my more typical reflections, since Deacon Rich has the homily this weekend (I had planned on being out of town for a wedding which is now cancelled!).  This week the second reading for Sunday, of which a portion is above, really struck me.  Although the last two months has been extremely difficult and sad with my being apart from my parishioners during the global pandemic, this week has been a week of blessings for me.  It’s not been anything in particular; it’s just that I’ve really seen the Holy Spirit working in the lives of some of our volunteers and with the nurses at Touro Infirmary.

And so this little reading really struck me.  It’s hard for us to understand how important we are to God.  It’s really almost impossible to realize just how much He loves us.  We can get “theological” about it by looking at the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.  Or we can get “material” about it by looking at our earthly blessings.  Or we can get “emotional” about it by experiencing God’s love in our families and friends.

When I recently read the passage above, I didn’t think of it in “theological” way.  I thought: Here’s St. Peter writing to his friends and saying “do you even realize how much God loves you?  Look what He did to help you understand that!”  Basically, St. Peter is being “real” in looking at the love of God in the person of Jesus.  He saw firsthand how Christ suffered and died; he saw the Resurrected Christ; he was a witness to the Ascension; and he was present at Pentecost.  We’re in the midst of these celebrations during the Easter Season, and this week has been a week of seeing God’s love working firsthand.

So, let me just ask you one thing: “Do you even realize how much God loves you?!  He does! He has “called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty