April 03, 2020 (Fifth Friday n Lent Memorial)
There is a city in Norther Iraq called Mosul. It contained one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world. For the past 2000 years Christians lived and worked raised families in Mosul. It is estimated that at its peak the Christian community reached over 1 million Christians. Today there none. Civil war has destroyed the city. Extremists and fundamentalists forced hundreds thousands of Christians from their ancient homeland. Those who were not able to flee for their lives were captured, tortured, and killed. All but perhaps few refused to save their lives, homes, fields, or property when given the choice to convert to their captors beliefs. It is a testament of faith to these extraordinary Christians. How many of us could endure the terror? How many of us would hold to our faith in the face of death and destruction? Yet this is what the Christians of Mosul have done. They have put all their trust and hope in God that one day they will be able to return home one day and rebuild their lives, their home, and churches. Today the Mass readings reveal the cost living an authentic faith in God. Especially in the face of terror. When everything surrounds a person in times of total destruction. The price of faith can be the price of one’s life. It is an amazing thing to see men, women, children, willing to give their life for their Christian faith in this world. Willing to live ones faith when things get tough. It is easy to love God in good times but not so easy in tough times. The Mass readings today explain the price of faith. Yet the one who endures in faith wins their life. The prophet Jeremiah sees political, religious, and social forces, not unlike the Christians of Mosul, crashing down upon him. He is in distress and sees death and destruction coming. Yet he too does not give in to his distress. He does not abandon God. Rather he raises his voice to God who knows in the end God will prevail. He raises his voice to God, trusting, in a God who will one day bring all injustice and terror to an end. When Jesus stands before the crowd who are picking up stones to throw he is also showing us the great cost we will pay for believing in him. There will always be many willing to throw stones, terrorize and destroy life. It is the price of faith in Jesus. It is the price of Christian faith. We ought not be surprised, or taken by surprise, when many in the world will attack human life. Or when extremists and fundamentalists come to capture and kill. It happened to Jeremiah, it happened to Jesus, it has happened to the Christians of Mosul. But there is one thing Jesus promises those who hold to their faith in love of God and neighbour, He will prevail. God who entices the human heart to love will prevail. In these distressing times in which we live, God is calling us back to him. To prevail in trust and love of Him. Prepare to return back to him in these days of isolation, social distancing, just as the Christians of Mosul long to return back to their homes and city. The oldest continuous Christian city in the world.
Thank you to all who have signed up to help CARE FOR NEIGHBOURS TEAM. Those who have been asked to help a neighbour please keep a check on them.
Mass today was offered for the intentions of Rose Charbonneau.
Pray the Rosary at 4 PM in your homes offering prayers for the sick, and afflicted, our nurses and doctors, and an end to the pandemic.
All mail drop off at the Rectory mail box kitchen door. Place any prayer requests, messages, letters.
Dry food items for food pantry can be placed in the grey bin outside office entrance doors.
THE DIOCESE HAS INFORMED ME THAT PALMS CAN NOT BE DISTRIBUTED ON PALM SUNDAY OR LEFT ON PARKING LOT FOR PICK UP. WE WILL FOLLOW THE GOVERNMENTS ORDER NOT TO GATHER EVEN FOR PICK UP OF PALMS. THEY WILL BE DISTRIBUTED WHEN THE CHURCH REOPENS.
Reminder this Sunday 9 AM Mass will be live streamed. Instructions are posted on the Parish Website https://holyrosaryguelph.ca under the “Masses” header on the home page of website. A link to a recording of the previous Sunday Mass is also available in the same location.
Courage everyone. Pray. With my blessing.
Fr. Vernon P. Boyd S.J.
Holy Rosary Parish, 175 Emma Street, Guelph, ON, N1E 1V6
519-822-4701 x 22 www.holyrosaryguelph.ca