Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
In this Sunday’s Gospel passage, Jesus appears to his disciples as they are hiding behind locked doors out of fear and says to them, “Peace be with you.” How ironic it is that, in these days, we find ourselves, if you will, behind the “locked doors” of self-isolation and social distancing, out of a concern for the well-being of ourselves and others. And it is in the very midst of this experience that we are presented with this Gospel passage where Jesus speaks to us the words, “Peace be with you.”
Elsewhere in John’s Gospel, Jesus speaks about the peace he offers to his disciples, as he is preparing them for his Passion, in these words, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid ” (Jn 14:27). The shalom or peace that Jesus desires is nothing that this world can give, nor is it rooted in anything of this world. Rather it is a supernatural peace that is rooted in a relationship with him and with the Father.
As we are entering into these days when we expect to encounter the peak of the effects of the coronavirus in Massachusetts, it may be difficult for many of us to find peace. What a blessing for us to hear Jesus offering us a peace that transcends this pandemic and its effects, and draws us more and more into the loving embrace of the Father. Let us seek to allow this peace that Jesus desires for us to take root in our hearts and minds, and so be fruitful in our lives.
Some notes for you:
Domestic Violence / Child Abuse – The media has brought to our attention lately the reality that the Stay-at-Home advisory, with people not being able to get out as often and with children not being around mandated reporters as frequently as they usually are, has resulted in fewer requests for help and reports of suspected abuse which may likely not be the reality people are facing. When talking to friends or neighbors be attentive to any “clues” that might be dropped in the conversation and ask if help is needed when it is safe to do so. If you are in need of help, or think someone else is, be aware of these numbers:
Elder Abuse Hotline – 800-922-2275
Domestic Violence – REACH (24 hr. hotline) – 800-899-4000
Child Abuse – Mass Dept. of Children and Families – 617-748-2000
Needham Police Department – 781-455-7570
Offertory – Many thanks to those of you who have been sending in your donations and donating online. In the past couple of weeks we have also received some very generous gifts to help us at this time. I am deeply appreciative for that. I know some of you tried to use the online giving last week and had problems. Online donations can be made here: http://stbartholomew-needham.org/donate/.
Bulletin – while there is not a lot going on in the parish we are still publishing a weekly bulletin which can found online here: http://stbartholomew-needham.org/bulletins/
Elders & Those Most at Risk – Once again, please remember to check in on the elders of our community and those who might have underlying conditions that make them most at risk for this coronavirus. If you know of someone who needs something, or you, yourself, are in need, please call the parish office.
The Church is open for Prayer – Just a reminder that the church is generally open for prayer M-F from 7:00 to noon, and on the weekends when we would normally have Masses scheduled. On a week-to-week basis we are continuing the Adoration on Tuesday nights that had been scheduled for Lent, but in order to come you MUST sign up. There is a link for that on the parish website. Please remember that, based on the state’s guidelines, we cannot have more than ten people in the church at a given time. Thank you.