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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
April 3, 1998     The Message
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The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Holy Week 1998 By BISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER e catching blame for many this past winter and now is e heart of Spring. The steadiness of !not change; days follow upon The liturgical calendar almost a matter of history. is known to Catholics and Palm Sunday. Following the there is a formal proces- of Jesus into Jerusalem on he was to die on the cross. The and death of Jesus sets the to follow, days of reflec- the Solemn Blessing of the in our diocese throughout the place on Tuesday evening of Holy Week. This year it will take place at Holy Redeemer Church in Evansville. There are three Holy Oils: Sacred Chrism, the Oil of Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick. They are sen- sible signs reminding the faithful of a deeper mean- ing. Olive oil is used. A balsamic perfume is mixed with the oil that is to be blessed as Sacred Chrism to set it apart because of its particular dignity. Sacred Chrism reminds us of the relationship of the person or thing with Jesus. The candidate is anointed with Scared Chrism in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders of Priest (and bishop). Because the Altar and the Church reflect a relationship with Jesus, they too are anoint- ed with Sacred Chrism. The Oil of Catechumens symbolizes the readi- ness of a catechumen to be baptized. The catechu- men is anointed on the chest immediately before the Sacrament of Baptism is administered. Following the Baptism, the newly baptized person is anointed with Sacred Chrism as a reminder that through bap- tism one becomes a disciple of Christ forever. The Oil of the Sick is used solely for the anoint- ing of the sick. Oil is a natural sign of healing. We use it profusely in many ways from lip balm to hand lotion. The Oil of the Sick symbolizes our prayer not only for natural healing of the sick person, but spiri- tual healing as well. Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday are high holy days in our Church calendar known as the Sacred Triduum--the Sacred Three Days culmi- nating in the Highest Feast Day in Christian Faith, that of the Resurrection of the Lord, which we call Easter. I urge all families to set aside time to participate in the liturgies of these sacred days.I am very aware that it is not easy to juggle schedules to make it possi- ble. It requires first of all a strong will to make time available. Further it demands generosity of time to make the commitment. I assure you that such gen- erosity will be more than outdone by God's blessings. Throughout these days the Church encourages us to use many concrete symbols--sensible signs recalling for us a deeper meaning. Should you see the use of a symbol that you do not understand, ask someone. Write to me or Paul Leingang, the editor of The Message. I assure you that we will answer your questions as best we can. CLEMENTS ship  experience to point and imper- reaction official Ameri- des- it's quite So, for article, we it "IHYLTT" .for I To This. '! hope you're listening to this' The IHYLTT response can happen anyplace. However, one particularly common instance of IHYLTT takes place in church when a homilist figuratively and sometimes literally shakes a righteous finger at some of our mortal shortcomings. Suppose, for example, a homilist (for Catholics, that's the person Who is preaching or -giv- ing the sermon" at Mass) decries the dangers and hurtfulness of gossiping, or shares incontro- vertible evidence of the congre- gation's lack of financial support for the parish; or admonishes parishioners who refuse to share their time and talent with others in need; or chastises parents who overindulge their children; or reminds everyone of their Chris- tian responsibility to be good stewards of God's environmen- tal gifts, etc. People smitten by IHYLTT during such episodes are quite noticeable since IHYLTT, which is primarily an emotional reac- tion, tends to be accompanied by observable physical behaviors such as moderate-to-vigorous head-nodding, clandestine fin- ger-pointing, elbow-poking one's spouse, and/or furtive, sidelong glances directed toward "The Guilty Ones." Chronic IHYLTT sufferers never see themselves in the company of "The Guilty Ones." They secretly or openly say such things as: "I hope my spouse is listening to this!" or "I wish my children were here now to hear this," or "I'd like to get a copy of this homily and send it to my boss," and similar, other-directed observations. Most sermons are presented with the intent of enlivening Sacred Scriptures in order to help members of the congrega- tion find ways to incorporate the Good News of Jesus and the challenges of stewardship into their own lives. IHYLTT, on the other hand, not only countermands personal spiri- tual growth, and mental health, it is, in fact, decidedly un- Christian. We are reminded of the words of Jesus reported in John 8:7: "If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Unfortunately; chronic II%'LTI" sufferers may actually be inca- pable of ,,." affliction!- They" become" so_ engrossed in their own judgmen- talism that they are unable or unwilling to examine their own lives and attitudes. True good stewards, on the other hand, are Eucharistic people. Their life-attitude is based on thanksgiving and accountability: gratitude for God's many gifts, and a sense of responsibility to care for those gifts. Good stewards are rarely judgmental about others. Instead, they constantly look for ways to "do better" in their own lives as disciples of Jesus. In earlier articles in "I'he Stew- ard's Way" series, l notcKi that selfishness and being self- absorbed undermine a Christ- ian's efforts to live a total stew- ardship way of life. But, as in all things, there's a time for Christ- ian stewards to be self-centered and look inward. Older Catholics still refer to this as an "Examina- tion of Conscience." Here are just a few topics about Opinions and attitudes from time to time: racial prejudice, life and death issues, honesty and truth- fulness, respect for and kindness toward all of God's creatures and creation, stewardship of treasure, relationships with family, friends, and God .... When we are confronted by a homfllst or anyone who has noticed flaws or shortcomings in the human condition, the good steward's knee-jerk reac- tion should be: "How does this apply to my life?" not: "I Hope You're Listening To This." In the final analysis, God will hold us accountable for our own stewardship, not the stew- ardship of others. " n with prayer important during Lent, and beyond Lent millions world. Lent is a towards It of This is all us, of thq prepare with Catholic participation in lent is done in many ways. Man), of us increase the number of times we attend Mass orconfession and others choose to give up certain foods or beverages that seem to be a part of their daily rituals. Many of us also make an effort to clean up our lan- guage or improve our relation- ships towards family, friends or people in general. Regardless of what we choose, each of us makes a conscious effort to give up or do more of something. All of these things are an important part of our development and help to lead us towards disci- pline, that hopefully we can take with us after Easter and make it a continuing part of our daily lives. ......... One of the things I hope we all have included in our Lenten preparation is reflection during prayer. Many of us, at one time or another, spend time reflecting on situations or events that have occurred in our lives. This is important, but reflection alone is not enough. For us as Christians to gain the full benefit of reflec- tion we must join it with prayer, and its combination will be life changing, Reflection with prayer brings spiritual teaching, spiri- tual healing and spiritual growth to our daily lives. The reason for this is simple. We allow the'Holy Spirit to become part of the process, Reflection without prayer is simply a replay of the past and probably a continuation in the future. But when we ask God to join with us, He becomes the substance that allows us to use the reflec- tion process to not just continue on, but to go beyond.* God takes our hand and his Holy Spirit helps us to make sense of where we are, because of where we have been. He helps to guide our steps. Steps that will take us and make us a part of the promise of Easter. A celebration of Eternal Life. During some of my own Reflection and Prayer time, 1 have realized how blessed I have been to have such wonderful have helped me so much. Fathers Kessler, Erbacher, Foster, Allen, Wargel, Lautner, Steckler, Kreilein, Etienne, Breidenbach, Fritsch, Sisters Joseph Louise, Mary Denise, Margaret, Vv'm- niefred are just a few of these blessings. These people and many others are a part of my prayers and this Lenten season. Yet i not end there. Their inIluenceil my life is as be parents, family members and a we  each year during wife to help me on this never Lent should continue with us. ending journey. I have also been Through the )ining of daily fortunatetohavecomeinmcon" reflection and prayer, spiritual tact with priests and sisters who growth can and will be eternal,