Letter from the Pastor
Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Part One: Scripture
Why does Jesus tell the parable of the sower and his harvest with slightly strange things happening, like throwing seeds where obstacles to growth abound? Who gets it? Perhaps those with “ears to hear,” the symbolic echo of Isaiah 55:10-11 in the final verse of the parable. Maybe the seed, soils, and harvest refer to how people respond to Jesus’ preaching about the Kingdom of God. Both Isaiah and Jesus end on a strong up-note—God’s Word does not go forth into the world to fail.As the parable of the sower opens, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that only a negligent or wasteful farmer would sow seed where obstacles to growth abound. Only blind luck or unexpectedly good weather for growing season could have made that farm profitable in the end. Are we supposed to think that Jesus was somehow provoking misunderstanding and even opposition? Or some latched on to the message that God’s reign is at hand, or tried it for a while, maybe even flowered, but were not there in the end.The point of the parable is that the farmer has not wasted his seed. Perhaps we should hear the opening three verses less as preludes to disaster than as the routine losses that went with any season of planting. No one would be concerned about them. It was the seed planted in good soil that mattered. The birds are welcome to what they can get from the path.Farmers in the 1st-century Galilee would know that plants without deep roots could not flourish in semi-arid conditions. Today’s agricultural researchers are finding genetic changes in root structures that help to sustain crops in drought-prone regions. And as Peter Wohlleben teaches us in his bestseller The Hidden Life of Trees, roots are not just about nutrition. They are about communication. With the assistance of various forest fungi, trees are exchanging information about their condition.This research into forests as social networks suggests a 21st-century update to Jesus’ parable. How healthy is our root system? Is the distress of individuals communicated to others who respond by changing themselves? St. Paul imagines that the Spirit links believers with each other and all of creation, still groaning in anticipation of a transformation by God’s life-giving power (Rom 8:18-23).
**Pheme Perkins, Joseph Professor of Catholic SpiritualityTheology Department at Boston College.
Part Two: Re-Opening Churches
Cardinal Tobin dispenses the faithful from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days. Those who are at risk because of an underlying health issues or who are 60 years old or older are strongly encouraged to avoid attending public celebrations of Mass because it carries the risk of contagion. We will continue to live-stream the Sunday Mass in Spanish at 9:00 a.m. and in English at 11:00 a.m. Please subscribe. It is free to subscribe. The parish has a YouTube channel: Saint Lucy. Subscribers can view the live-stream Mass on their smart phones. On Saturday evening, 20 June 2020, we entered Phase 3 of the reopening of St. Lucy. This means that St. Lucy will now celebrate publicly Sunday Mass with the practices of social distancing, use of masks and limited number of people present. Those who are at risk because of an underlying health issue or who are 60 years old or older are strongly encouraged to avoid attending public celebrations of Mass, which carries the risk of contagion. Moreover, we will continue to live-stream the Sunday Mass at 9:00 a.m. and in English at 11:00 a.m. All other sacraments will resume according to directives.
The door on Amity Place and the side door opening to the garages and Rectory parking lot are designated as the ENTRANCE doors to church. The EXIT door will be the door of the St. Gerard Shrine leading to the plaza through the Ruggiero garden. Leaving the church, participants will have to practice social distancing and to wear facial masks.
Please pre-register online or by phone if you intend to attend the Mass in person. Registration enables us to maintain “social distancing.” The capacity of the church is currently set at 100. This number may be raised later.
In Phase 3 it is no longer necessary to open the church for personal and private prayer from noon until 3:00 p.m. St. Lucy celebrates publicly weekday Masses, funerals, weddings, and baptisms. Before each Mass, the church will be opened 15 minutes for personal and private prayer. The church will be locked after Mass.