Lincoln’s Log 4-18-2021

Easter Repentance

Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”
Acts 3:19

“Jesus said to them, ‘Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
Lk. 24:46-47

This weekend, the third Sunday of Easter, we read from the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. These two books in our Scripture are companion volumes, both written by St. Luke with the intention of telling the story of Jesus (in the Gospel) and the story of the early Church (in the Acts of the Apostles).

In both the Gospel and in Acts this Sunday we read a word that we associate with Lent, not Easter. That word is: repent! At the beginning of lent, we heard the call us to repentance as Ashes were placed on our heads, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” But that was lent. Shouldn’t we be done repenting by now? After all that work, can’t we take a break from repenting and enjoy ourselves?

We easily forget that there are two dimensions to repentance. To repent means to turn away from sin and turn toward God. Both elements are always present, but during lent, we often focus on turning away from sin. This facet of repentance can make us think of repenting as dour or dark or difficult. But turning away is only one side of the repentance process.

Easter exposes the other, more important, side of the process. In Easter repentance, we turn toward the new life and love of God given to us in Jesus. We repent joyfully. We celebrate the fact that Jesus has conquered sin and death and this celebration is a form of repentance. Sin can’t survive in the presence of real joy. Embracing new life in Jesus drives death away. Our hearts sing, “Alleluia,” which vanquishes fear. It is as if our hearts were empty but are now filled with the love of Jesus. His fullness drives everything else away.

Easter repentance is not dour or dark or difficult. It is cheerful and light and easy because Jesus has conquered death and sin. Alleluia!

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln
Parish Pastoral Leader

Lincoln’s Log 4-11-2021

Risking Easter Joy

“The Joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness, and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew.”
Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel #1

“When we feel joy, it is a place of incredible vulnerability — it’s beauty and fragility and deep gratitude and impermanence all wrapped up in one experience.”
Brene Brown

This time of year I find myself asking, “Why are we better at keeping the 40 days of Lent than the 50 days of Easter?” It seems like we are better and penance and walking the way of the cross than we are at living the joy and new life that Jesus gives us at Easter. I often hear people talking about their Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving; but rarely have I heard someone talking about how they are living with new joy in the season of Easter. Yet, we are in a season that is filled with joy. Alleluia’s ring through the liturgy; flowers bloom; the Scripture speaks of mercy and peace. The message of the church in the season of Easter is clearly one of joy and new life.

Here are some ideas to help you enter into Easter Joy (adapted from the wonderful book, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun):

  • Attend to the people who give you joy. What attracts you to them? How can you learn from them? Ask God how you might celebrate them in a way that encourages them.
  • Identify the place you most readily connect with God. Is it in nature? Listening to Christian music? Participating in Mass? Solitude? Whatever the place or experience, go there. What do you want to tell God about the joy you receive there?
  • Think of activities that give you joy. Do it!
  • Recall some of God’s gifts to you. To celebrate God’s grace to you, write a song of celebration, make a collage (or other work of art) that represents your joy, write a poem of praise, play music and dance before the Lord, or memorize a verse of praise from Scripture and repeat it all through the coming days.
  • Ask God to give you the gift of joy.

What are you doing for Easter this year? Take the risk of joy this Easter!

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln

Parish Pastoral Leader

Lent/Easter Homily Series

I thought I would share a few of my homilies from lent and the beginning of Easter. They build on one another and are my first attempt at a bit of a homily “series.” Let me know what you think!

You can find all of the podcast episodes at: Exploring His Kingdom (buzzsprout.com)

Here are the episodes in the series:

The Woman at the Well

The Man Born Blind

The Raising of Lazarus

Holy Thursday – The Battle Begins

Easter Sunday – Jesus Victory

Easter Sequence

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.”
Psalm 118:24

On four special days out of the year, the church uses what is called a “sequence.” These ancient liturgical hymns are used on the feasts of Easter, Pentecost, Corpus Christi, and Our Lady of Sorrows. They explore the meaning of the feast we are celebrating through profound poetic imagery. The texts are not easy to understand and take some time to digest. But they possess a great depth of imagery and spirit.

Here is a section of the Easter sequence for you to ponder this week and throughout the season of Easter:

Christians, to the Paschal Victim

Offer your thankful praises!

A Lamb the sheep redeems;

Christ, who only is sinless,

Reconciles sinners to the Father.

Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:

The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.

Speak, Mary, declaring

What you saw, wayfaring.

“The tomb of Christ, who is living,

The glory of Jesus’ resurrection;

Bright angels attesting,

The shroud and napkin resting.

Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;

to Galilee he goes before you.”

Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.

Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!

Amen. Alleluia.

Easter Sequence

May the Lord give you the blessings of new life through the power of Jesus paschal mystery!

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln
Parish Pastoral Leader

Lincoln’s Log 4-4-2021

Deacon Lincoln’s Log 4-12-2020

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!”

Psalm 118:24

“There is an empty tomb in Jerusalem, and it cannot be silenced.”

Discipleship Quad Guidebook p. 49

Alleluia! Christ is risen. It is a message that sounds different during this time of pandemic. Everything seems out of sorts and upside down. We are forced to ask ourselves, “What does Easter mean at a time such as this? How can we sing anything other than mournful songs? How can we sing Easter joy when there is so much suffering and death around us?”

These questions drive us deep into the heart of faith. They take us to the place in our hearts where despair lurks, where hope is challenged by experience, where doubt meets faith. These questions take us to the empty tomb.

The empty tomb is a silent witness to the resurrection. It points to the resurrection with confidence, but it doesn’t force belief. It invites, but does not coerce.

The unyielding presence of the empty tomb is a fact that inserts itself into our mind. It drives us to think about the possibilities. It invites us to encounter a life beyond death. The empty tomb witnesses to a new life beyond the grave. It reveals a love that exists beyond the death and suffering of this present world.

This nagging fact of the empty tomb invites our hearts to trust; to trust in love beyond death. This is faith, But the faith of the empty tomb isn’t a naive faith that denies the reality of illness and death. No, it is a faith that enters fully into the reality of death, but finds a more profound life beyond deaths limits. The empty tomb sings a song of joy, not because it hasn’t experienced death, but because it has seen death conquered!

Our Alleluia this Easter is born in the experience of suffering, just as the first Alleluia was born of the suffering of the cross. Our songs echo the song of the empty tomb, daring to sing in the midst of death. Our faith has grown and our life has changed through this encounter with the empty tomb. We are more mature. Our faith is deeper. We have begun to learn the lesson of the empty tomb.

Alleluia!

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln

Parish Pastoral Leader

 

The axis of mercy supporting the world turns on these hinges or poles, that through the Mother we have access to the Son and through the Son to the Father, so that being thus led we should have no fear that our reconciliation would be rejected.

St. Albert the Great

Quote of the Week