When we last saw Mary, she was at Cana telling us: “Do whatever he tells you.” Jesus would begin his ministry. In our own lives at this moment we are in Lent. Jesus has finished his ministry and approaches his suffering, death and resurrection. Where is Mary? There she is. Look around. Mary is right with Jesus. She follows him everywhere. She is the first and best disciple. The most loyal and loving. She did not deny him or run away, but we don’t hear a word from her. I wonder what she was thinking when things went so wrong for her son? Sometimes that happens to us too. Things look so dark. We must be loyal and loving too and wait for the resurrection. Mary is with Jesus at the foot of the Cross, at his burial, at his resurrection, his ascension, and finally in the upper room waiting for the Spirit. Her advice to us: follow him. What have you done for Lent so far? Given up anything? Prayed a little more? Given extra to those who don’t have? All good things, but what about coming to the Shrine for a weekday Mass? How about buying a Lenten daily reading book in the gift shop to give you and your family a Lenten thought for the day? How about buying a religious Easter gift to give to someone? How about remembering that Easter is Christ rising? What did Mary do? She followed her son.
Come and visit us at the Shrine. The schedule for Holy Week is Tuesday, April 16, Mass 7:00 AM, Holy Thursday, April 18, Mass 7:00 PM, Good Friday Services April 19 2:00 PM and Holy Saturday, April 20 Mass 7:30 PM. Mary will be here as usual. We hope that you can too. Happy Easter. Please attend our Pasta Dinner on Thursday, April 25. The outdoor shrine season begins Sunday, May 5th.
In the Trinity,
Sisters of the Most Holy Trinity
The Prodigals: Father and Son
In the parable we heard this past Sunday, we have both a prodigal son who spends lavishly and a prodigal father who loves with the same encompassing abandon. For some reason it put me in mind of The Wizard of Oz as Dorothy learns that she has within her the power to return home. She just needs to know her heart’s desire. It evoked questions in me: What is my heart’s desire? What do I gain and what must I sacrifice in seeking it? What do my mistakes along the way teach me? Who helps me, challenges me, welcomes me, celebrates me? When do I become the one who forgives, welcomes and celebrates?
Read Luke 15: 11-32 and then watch the ending of The Wizard of Oz. (If you don’t have a copy, it is easily found on YouTube.) Spend some time with the rich images in both and allow God to speak to your heart’s desire. Perhaps you might begin or end with this prayer from St. Ignatius of Loyola:
Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will. Amen.
Do you like to listen to music? Do you hum along or sing some of the lyrics of the song and surprise yourself that you even remember them? I think that most people do like music, but if you really take the time to listen to those lyrics that we are singing along with I think that we would discover something important. The songs are great, but so sad. For the most part they talk about lost love or having to watch a significant other going with another person. They might even tell us that they have had too much to drink and could they be forgiven for what they have done to their relationship.
The point is the songs seem hopeless, the relationships dysfunctional and the looming ending will come to no good. There is no permanence, respect for the other or even a glimmer of the possibility of happiness. Those songs, while the music and the beat are catchy, do not paint a life that most of us want to live. Perhaps your life is like that or after hearing the message so much it is accepted that we can’t have a lasting healthy relationship. God did not mean life for us to be hopeless or loveless. God’s love is everlasting, hopeful, respectful and meant to lead us to happiness. Oh, sure we have problems, but if we have someone to walk with our problems carry half the weight.
It is Lent, a time for self-reflection for communication with our best friend: God. The world and pop culture tell us all sorts of nonsense. God’s message is constant and ever loving. God shows us how to love Him and each other. Just because the world’s message is louder does not mean that it is true. The volume gets in the way. God speaks softly. We really must listen. Take some time out to read scripture thoughtfully. Stop in a church and visit your friend God. That would be like going over your best friend’s house. Maybe you’ll be surprised with your conversation.
Bible Vs. Jer. 29:11 “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm to give you a future with hope.”
Prayer: Oh, Lord, there is so much noise around me. It drowns out your word. I try and try to listen, but I grow very weak and tired. Help me to hear your words of hope and to trust you. I have been betrayed so many times, but then again so were you. It is hard for me to “forgive them” as you showed me. I just want to avoid another relationship, so I fear trying again. Help me to strengthen my relationship with you so that I can recognize the friend that truly loves me. Thank you, Lord for never leaving me.
When a key member of the government’s legal team went to work for the pharmaceutical industry, the job of diversion control enforcement changed dramatically. In this episode, Mr. Joseph Rannazzisi, who for over a decade, was the front man in the government’s battle against the opioid epidemic, shares a first-hand account of what happened when Congress took the word of an industry attorney over an agency that was actually enforcing the law.
Today, in the third part of our 4-part series, you’ll hear more of Mr. Rannazzisi’s unfiltered comments on the passage of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Enforcement Act and the Congressional leaders behind it. “This doesn’t ensure patient access and it doesn’t help drug enforcement at all. What this bill does has nothing to do with the medical process. What this bill does is take away DEA’s ability to go after a pharmacist, a wholesaler, manufacturer or distributor,” he said. “This was a gift. A gift to the industry.”
Greg is joined on this episode by guest, award-winning author of “American Overdose”, Chris McGreal. McGreal’s book is a comprehensive portrait of the greed, corruption and indifference that led our country into the worst health crisis in American history. Additionally, Mr. McGreal is an investigative journalist for the Guardian, who in 2016, wrote a compelling story about Mr. Rannazzisi titled “Opioid epidemic: ex-DEA official says Congress is protecting drug makers.”
Listen to this podcast, the third in our 4 part series, for more candid conversation with the former head of the Department of Diversion Control for the DEA, Mr. Joseph Rannazzisi.