A note from Fr. Vince

Welcome to Spring everybody!

I live in a seniors’ place in Waukee. On Sunday morning I slipped over to Hy-Vee because I just live two blocks from there.  A Helpful Smile In Every Aisle! We can’t hold everybody to the same standards as we did just a few weeks ago. So I would say it was 30% smiles. The difference was everyone else in the store. Hardly anyone made eye contact or smiled. We were all keeping our distance. When I got back to my apartment and got on the elevator with my groceries in tow, there was a man and his dog. I said something I shouldn’t have. I said “Happy Spring!”  He said and I quote: “Who cares now”! Then even the dog growled at me.   Would you think badly of me if I thought that I don’t care either? Isn’t a priest supposed to be positive, uplifting, and supportive. Well Ya…but too much ‘upliftingness’ can get you punched. I know that ‘upliftingness’ is not an actual word, but it felt right. So I wanted to go downstairs to play cards so I took precautions: so I soaked half an hour is a bathtub full of Lysol. It really chaps my skin, but I’m 70, so I don’t care.

You already know why people are ‘off’. Take your pick: catching IT, losing a job, losing a business, TOO MUCH BEING HOME WITH FAMILY, isolation, can’t pay your bills, etc. etc. etc!

All those are true, but the biggest of all is FEAR! The worst part of fear, is similar to the best part of fear…..because we all have it. Both can be contagious. In normal life (2 weeks ago) there was a certain percentage of people who were afraid of something. And rightfully so. That is a very different feeling than ‘everyone is afraid’! It’s a shared crisis, but also a shared opportunity. 

The Gospel doesn’t dwell very much on the ordinary life of people because some things were just there, constant in their lives, and was given little attention. You can name it a lot of things, but I think the main one was FEAR! Let me list some: abject poverty, subsistence living, running out of food, living in a cruel dictatorship, fear of ‘catching’ something (that one seems familiar), etc. etc. etc.

One of the most famous things that Jesus ever said was: Be Not Afraid!  He knew (knows) that is not magic, it is a process. We have a long road ahead and it is full of fear. I think it is the same for each of us; it’s just experienced differently.

When Jesus said it then, and now for us, we believe he empowers our faith in the process of living with uncertainty. We have no other choice than live with our fears, but that can’t keep us from moving forward in our life now unfolding before us. Jesus leads the way; he out in front of us. Coaxing us forward into the unknown, and promising he will not abandon us at these most consequential days to come.

Close your eyes and breath deeply. Can you hear him? It may only be a whisper at first, but it will get louder in your heart.   Be not afraid. Be not afraid.  Be Not Afraid!

I’ll risk trying it one more time:  Happy Spring Everybody!
I’m sure that everyone is aware of various parishes that are live streaming Mass, or recording Mass, and having it available for viewing at whatever time you would like to watch it. Some parishes are doing both. Father Vince and the team are working now to have this coming weekend Mass available with sound and video for our Saint Augustin community. Please watch our parish website and our Facebook page.