Thursday, March 10, 2016

Lent V: Downton Abbey

It’s Monday morning; the day that I write and submit what you are reading right now.  I take my first few sips of coffee and begin to reread the day’s scripture readings.  I then look at the music that I planned a few months ago. Then, a little walk around the living room.   One reason for this walk is related to procrastination, but the other is to allow the Holy Spirit (and the coffee) some time to do what they do.

As I walk, I recall something that came across my Facebook feed late last night.   It was a picture of some of the girls with whom I went to grammar school dressed up for a Downton Abbey Finale party.   Don’t worry I will not spoil anything for those who have yet to watch the finale. 

Despite the many friends who rave about it (including some staff members here at St. Mary’s) I have very little interest in Downton Abbey. 

I am however, very interested in how television shows capture our attention, stir our imagination and influence our daily lives to the point of dressing up and quoting the character’s lines.  (BTW I have 7 words for some of you who are smugly shaking your heads, thinking that the Abbeyer’s (or is it Abbots?) are crazy:  May the force be with you….NOT!

Today we hear part 5 of the Lenten story.  But first let’s look back to some recent “episodes.” (Click on the title to link to the days readings at the US Catholic Bishops homepage.)

The Baptism of the Lord 
                    (or, what I call the prequel) Jesus begins his mission.

Lent I:      Jesus goes into the desert to discern this mission and is 
                    tempted by Satan.  

Lent II    Atop Mt. Tabor with Peter, James and John, Jesus is 
                   transfigured while being blessed by the same 
                   voice heard from the clouds during the prequel. 

On Lent III, IV, and V we hear stories that tell us about God and God’s mercy. 

Lent III    The gardener obtains a stay of execution for the 
                    non-producing fig-tree.  

Lent IV    The moving parable of the prodigal son and his 
                    Father who responds with joy when the son who was 
                    dead to him returns.  

Many of you, particularly those of Italian descent will recognize the severity of the phrase “dead to me.” 

Today, Lent V we hear one more story of reconciliation and mercy; a story often referred to as The Woman Caught in Adultery.*   

Here is what our Holy Father, Pope Francis says directly about this gospel:

“The first and only step required to experience mercy….is to acknowledge that we are in need of mercy.  Jesus comes for us, when we recognize that we are sinners.”

Here are two of today's musical selections which speak to a God who calls us to a deeper relationship i.e. to "Come home."  

1.  Hosea is a gem written by Gregory Norbet OSB.  Click on the      link to see and hear a slide presentation using it as a background      posted by maryelizabethanne2.

2.  Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling is the song you are               listening to right now.  You can see and hear it by click on the         following link.  Softly and Tenderly (Gaither VEVO)

Lent V music at St. Mary's

I invite you pray the words while singing or listening to these preludes as you prepare to meet our God who becomes present in Word and Sacrament.

*    (note: At the 12 noon liturgy the cycle A gospel of the Raising           of Lazarus will be proclaimed.)


One last quote from a Downton Abbey fan as it relates to my work both here and on my blog (Which you can find by going to the parish website at .)

“It’s a little different at first but once you watch an episode or two and get to know the characters; you’re hooked.” 
What might happen if we were to read scripture similarly?

Blessed to be serving at St. Mary’s,



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.   

Mark your calendars and commit to spending about three hours during holy week.

Thursday      March 24th   7:30 p.m.      The Lord's Supper
Friday           March 25th,  7:30 p.m.      The Passion of the Lord
Saturday       March 26th,  7:30 p.m.      The Easter Vigil


Softly and Tenderly

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