Sunday, March 26, 2023

Fifth Sunday of Lent


Fifth Sunday of Lent

How is it the fifth Sunday of Lent already?  It seems rather impossible in so many ways.  The journey of Lent is just that a journey.  On Ash Wednesday we placed ashes on our foreheads as a sign of our faith.  The Lenten journey began on that day.  Since that day we have journeyed with Jesus.  We have heard in the Sunday Gospels the stories of Jesus’ Temptation, the Transfiguration, the Woman at the Well, the Man Born Blind, and the Raising of Lazarus.

In each of these stories we see both the humanity and divinity of Jesus. Each of the individuals in these stories were moved by their encounter with Jesus to become proclaimers of the word of God and were inspired by the spirit of God to bring Jesus to others.

During this last full week of Lent, we have the opportunity to pause and reflect on what did we see or do differently.  What do we still want to do to make our life a place of the presence of God?  Let this Lenten journey continue to be filled with the hopeful anticipation of Easter.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Fourth Sunday of Lent


Today we celebrate the fourth Sunday of Lent.  It is called Laetare Sunday. We are mid-way through Lent and on this day, the Church expresses hope and joy in the midst of our Lenten fasts and penances. Laetare means rejoice and the theme comes from the entrance antiphon reflecting on Isaiah 66:10-11: "Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exalt and be satisfied at her consoling breast."

The priest wears pink or rose-colored vestments, symbolizing hope and the joy that awaits us at the resurrection. This Sunday, let us keep in our hearts, the joy that awaits us on Easter and find hope in the promise of the Resurrection!

This Monday, March 20th, we celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Joseph. (Although his feast day is March 19th, it has been transferred to Monday because the 19th falls on a Sunday this year.) It is interesting to note that everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scripture; but Joseph does not utter a word. His silent obedience and trust in God's providence, makes him shine as a model for us in our everyday trials.

Saint Joseph is the patron saint of the Universal Church, of families, fathers, expectant mothers, travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, working people, and of the dying because it is assumed that he died before Jesus' public life, with Jesus and Mary beside him.

Let us pray.

Saint Joseph, be with me today as I offer my requests to the Father. Let me recognize God's will as I open my hands to accept what God bestows in loving kindness.  With tenderness, God fills creation with life and love.  Open my eyes to the wonders that God works without ceasing.  Let me learn the true intention behind my request so that I may discover within myself the lowly one that God commends. Amen.


Monday, March 13, 2023

Pope Francis' 10th Anniversary


Today marks the 10th anniversary of Pope Francis being elected as the head of the Roman Catholic Church.  I remember so clearly where I was when the announcement of the white smoke was broadcast on national television.  It was a most touching moment when he came out on the balcony, bowed his head, and asked for the prayers of the world. He celebrates this day with a Mass with cardinals in the chapel of the Vatican's Santa Marta hotel where he has lived since his election.

The Argentina-born Francis, 86, became the first Latin American pontiff on March 13, 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI who had become the first pope in six centuries to resign.  The years have certainly flown by for him.  During his reign he has traveled extensively some 250,000 miles and has touched the hearts of many.

The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has sought to project simplicity into the grand role and never took possession of the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace used by his predecessors, saying he preferred to live in a community setting for his "psychological health".  A persistent knee ailment has forced Francis to alternate between a cane and a wheelchair,  but he continues to press on.

On this day when we celebrate Pope Francis and all he has done for the people of God let us pray…

O God, shepherd, and ruler of all the faithful, look favorably on your servant Francis, whom you have set at the head of your Church as her shepherd.

Grant, we pray, that by word and example he may be of service to those over whom he presides so that, together with the flock entrusted to his care, he may come to everlasting life.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.  (USCCB)


Sunday, March 5, 2023

Second Sunday of Lent


Today’s Gospel is the beautiful story of the Transfiguration of Jesus – How God reveals himself to us.  Matthew tells us that Jesus took with him his three beloved disciples Peter, James, and John to a high Mountain, apart and in their presence, he was transfigured. When he was transfigured before them, his face shone like the sun and his garments became white as snow. Moses the greatest law giver and Elijah the greatest prophet of Israel come to the side of Jesus and talk to him about his passion and death. For Jesus this was a special moment as he took his friends with him to help them have a glimpse of his glory.  The disciples were with Jesus when they heard, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased, listen to him.”

So now we are in Week 2 of our Lenten journey -- how is Lent going for you?  As Christians we are called to enter the encounter where we don’t have all the answers.  We are called to grow in our relationship with God.  Called to remember that Jesus is present in the midst of all that is going on.  God is always with us.

As we reflect on Jesus' transfiguration in today's Gospel, we see a glimpse of our own conversion. We are invited to an inner change that can transform our lives completely. The Gospel must be the focal point of our lives.  Finally, we need to pray and listen to what God says and remember that the very desire to pray be a gift from God.  The first step is to walk with the Lord.