Reflections from the Shrine ...
From The Desk Of The Director
Rev. John P. Sullivan, M.S.
November 17, 2018
As we celebrate this weekend the Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, I cannot but reflect upon the coming Thanksgiving Day celebration. It is a special day which does not have much of an emphasis on the consumer to buy things, except a turkey, rather the focus is on celebrating with extended family, reaching out to the poor and simply being more grateful for all that God has given us as a country, communities, families and as followers of Jesus our Lord.
Of course we are especially grateful for Jesus himself as He gives us the gift of himself in word and sacrament. He describes himself in this weekend ‘s gospel “and then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the end of the sky.”
We are instructed that the sacrament of Jesus’ Body & Blood” is call Eucharist. In the Greek, eucharist is translated as “thanksgiving”. So whenever we celebrate at Mass, we are participating in a banquet of thanksgiving of the total gift of Jesus himself in the fullness of his humanity and divinity.
Reverend Barbara Brown Taylor, an Episcopal priest describes well this priceless gift when she writes: “Whenever we gather for eucharist, for thanksgiving, what we toast is the whole of Our Lord’s life, the defeats along with the victories, the gentle birth alongside the violent crucifixion, the sleepless night in Gethsemane alongside the empty tomb on Easter Morning.”
In the name of the extended La Salette family , we wish you a very blessed Thanksgiving for you and all of your loved ones. Let us also pray for the success of our 65th Festival of Lights, which kicks off next Saturday & Sunday. Saturday the Plainfield Chimers will ring in the beginning of our Light Season with a concert starting at 4:15 pm. We will then bless the lights and turn the lights on at 5 pm. We hope to see many of you as we celebrate the Festival of Lights.
We also want to take this time to thank everybody who has contributed to making the Festival of Lights possible, from Rick Smith and his team, to every single volunteer who, strung up lights, screwed in lightbulbs, cleaned and set up the cafeteria and shrine as well as the gift shop. This includes all of the volunteers you will see working during the Festival of Lights. Without you, we would not be able to do what we do. Thank you and God Bless You.
Fr. John P Sullivan, M.S.
Like the Stars
(33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Daniel 12:1-3; Heb. 10:11-18; Mark 13:24-32)
Would you like to be a star? The prophet Daniel tells us how: “Those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.”
Of course, if we are to lead others to justice, we need to be on that path ourselves. Can we find it on our own? No. The act of trust expressed in the responsorial psalm is our hope, too: “You will show me the path to life.”
This reminds me of the Consecration to Our Lady of La Salette. The prayer concludes by asking her “to enlighten my understanding, to direct my steps, to console me by your maternal protection, so that exempt from all error, sheltered from every danger of sin, strengthened against my enemies, I may, with ardor and invincible courage, walk in the paths traced out for me by you and your Son.”
Mary’s purpose in coming to La Salette is beautifully summed up in this prayer. Many pilgrims to the Holy Mountain express the same thought through the symbolic gesture of literally following the path taken by the Beautiful Lady from where the children first saw her to where she stood and spoke to them, and then to where she wound her way up the steep hillside to the spot where she rose in the air and disappeared from sight.
Like drinking the water of the miraculous fountain, this prayerful physical movement is a commitment to living by the light of La Salette, which simply reflects light of the Gospel.
Looking at today’s Gospel, one might be inclined to compare the apocalyptic description of the end time to the prophetic warnings of Our Lady of La Salette. That is not incorrect, but we must extend the comparison further. The hope Mary offers—not only of future abundance but also of her watchful care—is in keeping with Jesus’ promise that he will “send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds.”
Being his elect does not mean we are perfect. If we ever are perfect it will be the Lord’s doing, “for by one offering he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated.”
The same God who made the stars in the heavens, can make stars on earth. We call them saints.
Very Rev. Rene’ Butler, M.S.