The words quoted above are from today’s second reading from the Acts of the Apostles. Paul and Barnabas are actually quoting a text from the prophet Isaiah, yes, from the second of the four Songs of the Suffering Servant. I have said more than once that these four poems are one of the very finest sources we have for an increased awareness and appreciation of Jesus, for they clearly, manifestly, are about him. How fascinating it is to see Paul and Barnabas apply those same four poems, not to Jesus, or better, not only to Jesus, but to themselves, and by extension to the whole Church. This is an implicit way of saying that the Songs of the Suffering Servant find their fulfilment not only in Jesus, but in us as well, his Body, his Church. That is a wonderful thing. It is on texts like these that I base my constant affirmation that we, the Church, are nothing other than the ongoing presence and ministry of Jesus, the Suffering Servant of God, to the world in which we live. What a wonderful thing to be. I invite you yet again, then, to read, or to re-read the Songs of the Suffering Servant. Not only because they are a primary source of our discovery of Jesus of Nazareth, but because they are a primary source of revelation of who and what we are called to be as Church. They aren’t just about Jesus. They are about us. I’ll make sure again, that copies are available on the rack in the church foyer.
While I am suggesting further reading, might I also refer you to two very beautiful psalms that are fitting for this Easter Season. The first is Psalm 116, the psalm we call the “psalm of martyrs”, and Psalm 118, the psalm most frequently used in Easter season liturgies. Both are very beautiful. Both celebrate a God who has saved his servant from death. They are not only a nice way to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. They renew our hope that there will be a redemption from death for us as well. Again I’ll make sure copies of both are available on the rack in the foyer. And I refer you again to my favorite website for accessing the text of Scripture: “usccb” (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), then to the link “Bible”, then to “Books of the Bible”, then to “psalms”, and finally, to “116” and “118”. Happy reading!
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Again, an update on my condition. I’ve had a bit of a setback really. I had hoped to begin presiding liturgies, very gradually, in May. But about ten days ago, I was told that the time had come to remove the boot and start walking in a shoe. At the same time, I was given additional exercises, to learn how to walk again. I believe I exercised a bit too aggressively. In a few days, my foot was more swollen and stiff and sore than ever. So we have revised our recovery plan. I am back in the boot, from which I will be weaned gradually. And the exercises have been scaled back. I feel better already, but all of this has shown me that the recovery will be very, very slow. I dare not make predictions anymore as to when I will be back in the parish, functioning as normal. I only know that I will continue to be more absent than present in the coming weeks. I thank you all for your understanding and support.
God bless, and to all, a Happy Easter Season,