Third Sunday of Easter

THE KING OF ALL SURPRISES

By Leanna Cappiello

By our very nature, we are people of expectation.

We plan our lives in increments of years, months, weeks, moments and mealtimes. We like to know what’s coming so we can feel safe in our own knowing.

But as we are reminded on Easter, God is a God of surprises.

He gave His son Jesus as the sacrificial lamb, leaving no space to separate us from Him.

He formed us with expectation, but breaks our illusions right before our eyes.

This is the glory of God. Things are rarely what they seem to be at first – hence the intense mystery of our faith.

In today’s Gospel, the disciples recount the surprise of hearing the news of the resurrection. As they walk, Jesus himself approaches and asks about what they are discussing. Not even recognizing Him, they tell the story of how Jesus of Nazareth’s body was missing when the women sought Him in the tomb. They expressed hope for a plan of their own, “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” What happened after the Crucifixion was the surprise of all surprises – His body raised from the dead? They thought, Impossible.

Still a stranger to them, Jesus says in reply, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that Christ should suffer these things and then enter into glory?” The disciples had a plan in mind, but Jesus surprised them with something they could never have thought possible. The resurrection put their human expectations to shame with its divine glory.

How appropriate it is that this conversation between the disciples and Jesus happens on a road. Don’t we often find ourselves on a path to which we think we know where it leads, only to find out along the way that it leads a completely different direction? Our choice to follow Christ and let Him help us write our story can be a powerful, terrifying and liberating experience. He didn’t promise it would be easy, but He did say it would be worth it.

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Second Sunday of Lent

LITTLE THINGS FOR LOVE’S SAKE

Here we are at the Second Sunday of Lent. Our cravings have increased for what we are fasting from, and our energy has decreased for the resolutions we are taking on. It can seem like a dismal time, especially with the winter weather still upon us.

But Lent is far more a season for joy than for grief. At the heart of things, Lent teaches us to love more deeply. And yet we cannot love without suffering, or at the very least, a bit of discomfort. It seems that love and suffering go hand-in-hand. Why is this so?

In these times of collective longing, learning, and even anguish, we are more prone to notice the details. After all, it’s in “the little things” that make good things better, and harder things more difficult.  I imagine that this is why some of the best artists are among the most tortured souls. They embrace suffering in a way that is profound and prolific.

The second reading from Timothy begins with, “Brothers and Sisters, join me in suffering for the Gospel.” An invitation: to suffer for the promise of Good News. A reason: to unite in something larger than ourselves.

While many of us are lingering on the fear of pain, Jesus seems to hear us and offer a resounding, “Get up and do not be afraid” in the Gospel. As if to remind us that we are not alone in our suffering, He offers the best example of love: the cross, and the promise of a resurrection. Jesus didn’t run from the cross, He embraced it. And with this action, made all things new.

There may be suffering for the sake of love, but there is no fear in love.  By choosing to deprive ourselves of little luxuries, and extending ourselves a little further with acts of service, we leave that little bit of space for Jesus to dwell. By the cross, He has chosen us. It is in each season of Lent, that we may choose Him.

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

PRESENTED TO THE COMMUNITY

By Leanna Cappiello

It has only been one month since I began as your Social & Community Coordinator, and I must say, I’ve grown attached to you all already!

Your immediate response to our new initiatives has been doing wonders for this new energy at the Parish. Individually, and as a collective, you are the reason for this change. My role is merely to invite and facilitate.

For those who haven’t met me yet: I hold my B.A.[H] in Drama in Education & Community, and my B.Ed. at the Intermediate-Senior level. This means that I am both a Theatre Practitioner and a Teacher. My most notable internships vary from clowning at Fools for Health, to international politics the Holy See Mission to the United Nations. I spent most of my summers at the Shakespeare School in Stratford. I am a freelance writer, and my work has been published through CBC’s Generation Why, Salt+Light Media, Examiner.com, The Catholic Register, and Busted Halo. In addition to working with you at St Basil’s, I am currently pursuing my MTS at Regis College.

I’d love to offer a short update on how things have been going so far:

Reaching out to our Newlyweds and Engaged couples has been a great joy. The potlucks this month have been both delightful and delicious.

Couples: keep an eye out for some of our adventurous dining experiences in the future.

Our first gathering as young adults went exceptionally well. So much in fact, that we have decided to make it a weekly gathering: each Sunday following the 4:30pm mass.

Young adults: stay tuned to mailing list and on Facebook for upcoming events, gatherings, and locations.

Beginning in February, we will be starting a new initiative called “Threads of Prayer”, where we will gather each week to knit or crochet small gifts for the homebound and sick. These sessions will be held on a weekday in the late afternoon. Knitting lessons will be offered!

Elders: more information to come…

In today’s Gospel, we heard Jesus’ words, “You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world.” This mission He hands to us is not simply a call to ponder about change, but to act on change. You have already started. My position here is a direct result of your desire to be a more welcoming, generous, dynamic community – and this is only the beginning.