Dear Parish Family:
Today is the First Sunday of Lent. Jesus goes into the dessert, He is confronted with the temptations of the Evil One, from the flesh and the allurements of the world. He is facing the same temptations that we all face in our earthly journey here below.
We are meant by our baptismal call to be leaven in the bread, to be a city set on a hill, to be light and salt. We may feel not up to the task. We may feel weak in the face such a vocation. This is where we must have the confidence that comes from knowing that God has specifically chosen each of us. He can accomplish heroic things in us, if we surrender and submit to the joyful walk of discipleship.
This is the essence of Lent. We increase our prayer. I ask that you come to at least one daily mass each week. Coming to daily mass is the most ideal way to enter the spirit of the season. We join with the whole church receiving the graces needed to live a new life. We can’t do it without Jesus and His Church.
Next, we need to fast. This means that we practically “give something up.” It is true that giving up salt on our French fries or chocolate or ice cream or alcoholic beverages if you enjoy them, is a practical way to enter the spirit of fasting. St. Bernard back in the 11th century counseled people to give pre-occupation of the world. He meant that we should give up “worrying.” When worries come, we can actively make an act of trust in God and ask for His help. This shifts our attention away from self absorption and causes us to rely more on God…which is the whole point of Lent.
Finally, the Church calls us to give Alms. This means to turn with a generous heart to others. We have a need to give. This we speak of in terms of stewardship…time, talent and treasure. We consciously strive to give of ourselves, even when we feel like we don’t want to. This expands our heart to receive more of God’s graces.
These practical guidelines that the Church in her wisdom give us will help us to go deeper in our journey as disciples. God is calling us. Do we take the time to hear how he wants us. Lent is about love. Real love, the way that God loves.
Let us join with enthusiasm the whole Church in a Lenten journey that could be our last. We know not the day nor the hour…. “Turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel” “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.”