March 22, 2020
Fourth Sunday of Lent

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Reflection Questions:
Adults: What are you doing in your life right now to move toward light rather than darkness?
Children: What do you hope for after your life on Earth is ended?
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COLLECTION DETAILS:
Monthly Budgeted Income: $10,835.00
Collection for March 2020: $ 7,604.00
Development & Peace: $ 385.00

OMPH SANCTUARY CANDLE: Pat Hurtubise by a parishioner

SANCTUARY CANDLE FOR BOTH SAINT PATRICK’S AND OMPH: Each week we invite you to light the sanctuary lamp in memory of a loved one or for a special intention. The cost is $20.00 and you may drop the donation off at the rectory during office hours or place it in the collection with the information enclosed.

FOOD BANK COLLECTION: Donations can still be dropped off at OMPH during regular office hours.

OMPH IS NOW ABLE TO RECEIVE EMAIL BANK TRANSFERS to omphoffice@gmail.com. If you are interested in making your donation to the church through email, please call the office for more information. Donations can also be mailed to the parishes, OMPH Box 818 New Liskeard, ON P0J 1P0, St. Pat’s Box 293 Cobalt, ON P0J 1C0.

SHARE LENT – DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE: Our 2020 Parish goal for Development and Peace is $2,500.00. There are envelopes at the back of the church. Thank you for your generosity.

LENTEN THOUGHTS ON RECONCILIATION
Question: Am I not forgiven just as soon as I am sorry for my sins?

Answer: God’s forgiveness and mercy come in many ways and according to God’s own timing. Within our Catholic tradition, contrition and sorrow are essential elements in our understanding of forgiveness. But we also hold that in the case of serious sin two other elements are necessary: confession and satisfaction or penance. Obviously because of circumstances, forgiveness can be experienced by God’s grace. But when the sacrament is available and serious sin is the issue, confession and penance are necessary.

Source: Bishop Robert Morneau, Reconciliation (Maryknoll. NY: Orbis Books, 2007) 98- 100.

SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION: Fr. Wayne is available to hear confessions by appointment. Please call the office at 705-647-5035.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR OUR SNACK N’ YACK: Our Snack N’ Yack program requires volunteers for both the 9AM and 11AM Masses. Snack n’ Yack takes place 8 times a year and we are hoping to have enough volunteers to have four teams. We are hoping our next Snack n’ Yack will be on Sunday, April 26th. For more information please contact Anita at the office, 705-647-5035 or Marie-Jeanne Breault Elliott at 705-647-5676.

DIOCESAN PRIORITY
What does the Eucharist represent in the life of the Church?
It is the source and summit of all Christian life. In the Eucharist, the sanctifying action of God in our regard and our worship of him reach their high point. It contains the whole spiritual good of the Church, Christ himself, our Pasch. Communion with divine life and the unity of the People of God are both expressed and effected by the Eucharist. Through the Eucharistic celebration we are united already with the liturgy of heaven and we have a foretaste of eternal life.

REFLECTION FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT
“Tell me who he is so that I may believe in him”

Whoever wants to write a book, or an article, or an essay or even a letter needs to plan the structure of what they wish to say – at least the beginning, middle and end. One novelist always wrote the final chapter of his book first and worked back to the beginning. It is a little like that with the gospels.

The gospel of Matthew is structured around five great ‘sermons’ or ‘teachings’ of Jesus. The Sermon on the Mount is probably the best known collection (chapters 5-7), but also Missionary instructions (10) Parables (13) Community instructions (18) Eschatology (23-25). The gospel of John is structured around the seven great ‘signs’ that Jesus worked. These are:

Changing water into wine at Cana (2:1-11)
Healing the officials son in Caparnaum (4:46-54)
Healing of the paralytic at Bethesda (5:1-15)
Feeding of the 5000 (6:5-14)
Healing of the man born blind (9:1-7)
The raising of Lazarus (11:1-45)

The passage for this Fourth Sunday of Lent is the healing of the man born blind. It is an illustration of one of the other great themes of John’s gospel -from darkness to light. We are all familiar with the beautiful words of the Prologue in chapter 1:

In the beginning was the Word:
The Word was with God
And the Word was God.
Through him all things came to be.
All that came to be had life in him
And that light was the light of men,
A light that shines in the dark,
A light that darkness could not overpower (Jn 1:1-5)

And elsewhere we read:
I am the light of the world;
Anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark;
He will have the light of life. (Jn 7:42)

In today’s passage, Jesus contrasts the growing vision of the blind man with the increasing blindness of those who claim they can already see. This healing takes place after Jesus has left the Temple during the feast of Tabernacles. (Jn 7:2.10) You will remember this was the feast of the harvest, when tents or booths erected for everybody to live in the open while the harvest was being collected. The feast also commemorated the entry into the Promised Land, where true worship of God could take place, and the hope of the future coming of the messiah. It isn’t surprising that people coming away from that celebration excitedly would be talking about the end of time and the coming of the Messiah. During the festival, priests would go to the pool of Siloam each day and draw a gold pitcher of water and recite their ritual prayers. Without water there could be no harvest, no life. They then poured the water on the altar of the Temple, which was lit up for this feast. No wonder the teachings of Jesus in the Temple during the feast of Tabernacles were controversial. We read in chapter 7 “… there was much muttering about him among the people”. It is in this context that we have to understand the great messianic revelation of Jesus “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture says “Rivers of water will flow from within him” (7:37-38). These words were pronounced each day during the feast at the pouring of the waters from the Pool of Siloam. You will remember last Sunday’s gospel passage of the woman at the well of Samaria:

Whoever drinks this water
Will get thirsty again;
But anyone who drinks the water that I shall give
Will never be thirsty again:
The water that I shall give
Will turn into a spring inside him, welling up to eternal life

The story of this sign begins with a theological debate. The disciples ask Jesus whose sin has caused this man’s blindness. Jewish belief was strong that suffering was the punishment for sin – either that of the man himself or his parents. Sin is not responsible for suffering says Jesus. God’s glory will be seen through this man’s act of faith.

Jesus speaks and acts at the beginning and the end of this passage. The rest of the section is people asking questions and giving opinions. The reading focuses on ‘knowledge’ and ‘ignorance’. The blind man passes from ignorance of Jesus to recognising his identity. The parents know that their son was blind and has been cured but they don’t know what happened. Pharisees, assured in the knowledge of their faith, are blind to the new reality. Other words in the text, which are significant: ‘blind’ and sighted’. The man born blind becomes capable of sight, not just physically but also spiritually. Others, who enjoy normal vision, are blind when it comes to discerning spiritual realities. They have eyes but they do not see. They have ears but they do not hear.

The gospel challenges the Pharisees who are steeped in the scriptures to examine how they see and understand them. To confirm their ideas and prejudices or to open themselves up the knowledge and insight that God is working in different ways. “Are you trying to teach us” they replied “and you a sinner through and through since you were born”.

The passage comes back to Jesus and his conversation with the blind man:

“Do you believe in the Son of Man”. Tell me who he is so that I may believe in him”. Jesus said “You are looking at him. He is speaking to you”. The man said “Lord I believe” and worshipped him. How close are these words to those of the woman at the well of Samaria “I who am speaking to you” said Jesus, “I am he”.

No wonder these gospels are used during these Sundays of Lent at the ‘scrutinies’ of those adults to be baptised at Easter. So many of them have made a long journey to recognising the presence of Jesus in their lives and now in the Church. They will speak about seeing things in a new way as they have come to faith. They are asked questions and will finally say the Creed before their Baptism. So that they can make the same answer as the man born blind. “Tell me who he is so that I may believe in him”.

Archbishop George Stack

COVID-19 UPDATE 

The expansion of COVID-19 is creating, all over the world, a worrying situation. We are understandably concerned with the number of people who are infected or have died. On March 17th, 2020, the measure recommended by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, to eliminate gatherings for more than 50 people, in order to limit the spread of new cases of coronavirus, became mandatory in Ontario. If the current trend continues, we can expect, as in the United States, a reduction to gatherings of 10 people.

In this context, out of respect for government directives and out of concern for the well-being of people, the faithful can no longer go to church to participate in weekday and Sunday Mass. All church activities (Masses, meetings, prayer groups, outside group meetings, etc...) are cancelled until further notice.

All requested Mass intentions will be postponed until public Masses begin again. Mass intentions for the private Masses will be for “all who are suffering/affected by the COVID-19 pandemic”.

People are encouraged to be spiritually present during the Masses celebrated. Private Masses will be celebrated by Fr. Wayne at the following times: Tuesday to Saturday 4:15PM and Sunday at 11AM.

As per Bishop Poitras - How to spiritually unite with OMPH’s private Masses:
1. Turn off the TV or radio.
2. Take a moment of silence:
a) Make the sign of the cross: place onself in the presence of God;
b) Call to mind your church; altar, tabernacle, crucifix, statue of Mary
c) Remember the face of the priest, regular faithful
3. Express our faith in the communion of saints: the Blessed Virgin, Saint Joseph, angels, patron saints;
4. Express our union with the Pope, bishop, parish priest, faithful of the parish, and of the world.
5. Read the Word of God: Living with Chris or Bible.
6. Recite the Rosary: glorious mysteries on Sunday and Wednesday; joyful mysteries (Monday and Saturday); sorrowful mysteries (Tuesday and Friday); luminous mysteries (Thursday).

When we cannot go to church to receive Holy Communion , we can make a spiritual communion:
1. Recite the I believe in God, the Our Father, the Hail Mary 3 times, then the following prayer of Saint Alphonsus Liguori:
My Jesus, I believe that you are in the Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things, and I long for you in my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though you have already come, I embrace you and unite myself entirely to you; never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.
2. One recites then, three times, the Glory to God, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

OMPH’s Sunday Mass will be available to watch on our Facebook page Sunday evening.
https://www.facebook.com/OMPH.NL/

Daily Masses are available on television:
Vision TV
Sunday - 8:00 AM
Monday - Friday 8:00 AM & 12:00 PM
Saturday - 8:00 AM & 9:30 AM
Salt + Light
Sunday - 11:00 AM & 10:30 PM
Monday - Saturday - 6:30 AM, 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM, 10:30 PM
yesTV
Sunday - 10:30 AM
Monday - Saturday - 1:00 PM

Daily Masses are also available on Youtube, on your schedule: www.youtube.com/dailytvmass

Living With Christ, which has the daily readings, is available as a free app from the App Store and Google Play.

Fr. Wayne will be available to visit the people in critical need (for confession, anointing of the sick, viaticum) by appointment. Please call, 705-647-5035, to make arrangements.

For funeral services, contact Fr. Wayne. Funeral Masses must be postponed until a later date.

Marriages will be celebrated at a later date.

OMPH will be open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9AM to 4PM, for personal prayer. Please be sure to maintain the recommended distance (2 metres/6 feet) from other parishioners. The pews will be wiped down with Lysol wipes a few times a day and there is hand sanitizer in the entrance for your protection. A big thank you to Darcy & Tony Hearn and company, who gave the pews a thorough cleaning on Wednesday!

The office will be open regular hours. Bulletins will still be emailed on Fridays and copies will continue to be available at the back of the church for those who wish to come in and pray. Our Facebook page and website will be updated regularly.

Information regarding COVID-19 in our community, can be found at the Timiskaming Health Unit’s website: http://www.timiskaminghu.com/90484/COVID-19

Let us continue to care for ourselves and one another as we pray for all those impacted worldwide by COVID-19.

May God continue to bless you.

Fr. Wayne Mills

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