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He will give life to your mortal bodies

5th Sunday of Lent

Penance Services

Marketing

     Repeat 7 times
Confession
     Eucharist

Gospel / Raising of Lazarus
Jesus says over and over again
“Perturbed” and “deeply troubled”

Resurrection

With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication. If you, O LORD, mark iniquities, LORD, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered. I trust in the LORD; my soul trusts in his word. More than sentinels wait for the dawn, let Israel wait for the LORD. For with the LORD is kindness and with him is plenteous redemption; And he will redeem Israel from all their iniquities.”

Have you ever thought of Confession when you’ve heard these words of Psalm 130 that are included in today’s (Year A) readings? We can add to what the Psalmist writes, “with the Lord in Confession there is mercy and fullness of redemption”. It is in this sacrament (also called Reconciliation or Penance) that we “cry to you, O Lord” and that the Lord hears our voice. How important it is to voice our sins to the Lord so that we name them, claim them, and give them to Him! And, then, even more importantly, He voices His forgiveness through His priest.

We want to give you an opportunity to voice your sins to the Lord and hear His voice of forgiveness at a Lenten Penance Service this Tuesday night, April 9, at 7 pm. We will have two visiting (and merciful) priests to offer confessions along with me.

The following examination of conscience rubric previously shared on our site will help you to name and claim your sins. Many of you have found this helpful. It uses the seven deadly sins and the four cardinal virtues as a guide.

Feel free to bring this into the confessional at the Penance Service on Tuesday along with the “Confession” pamphlet on the rack in the vestibule. See you there!

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg

Do You Believe?

4th Sunday of Lent
Miracle / man born blind
Siloam
God saw this day coming
It’s all about faith
    Do you believe?

Catholics / new Catholics
Sacraments

    Jesus uses physical matter to bring supernatural power
    Same power as in miracle
Do you believe?

The value of redemptive suffering

I was speaking with a friend who is a devout Catholic about her upcoming surgery to remove cancer from her breasts. It will be a very scary and painful experience, and she is terrified about it. She proceeded to describe other horrific situations of suffering in her family, all of which have come about since the beginning of Lent. After she went through the grizzly details of their injuries and illnesses of the past two weeks, my first reaction was, “wow, what a Lent for your family.” We then went on to discuss the valuable and consistent Catholic theme of redemptive suffering which you find mentioned below. In short, this means that God is allowing her and her family to share in the suffering of Christ which brings redemption to the world.

Continuing with the meditations on the Stations of the Cross which are below and were written by Michael R. Heinlein at www.simplycatholic.com, we reflect on the suffering of our Lord and our own suffering. When I say that redemptive suffering is consistent, I mean that we experience on a regular basis opportunities to “offer it (suffering) up” for the salvation of others as Christ did. When we meditate on the Stations of the Cross, we reflect on the scary and painful agony that Christ endured for us and the similar afflictions that we now have to endure for him.

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg

 

Suffering with Christ

On his way to Calvary, Christ experienced the sufferings ordinary men and women experience every day throughout the world. He showed not only how to deal with them, but through the power of love how to transform suffering’s destructive power into

something life-giving. In Christ’s passion and death, St. John Paul II wrote that Jesus “has taken upon himself the physical and moral sufferings of the people of all times, so that in love they may find the salvific meaning of their sorrow and valid answers to all of their questions” (Salvifici Doloris, No. 31).

Meditating on the Stations of the Cross exposes Christ’s suffering heart — “sorrowful even to death” (Mk 14:34). In his condemnation to death, Christ teaches that we have the freedom to accept life’s sorrows. He does not let condemnation be levied upon him, but rather he chooses it out of love. Taking up his cross, Christ models how to accept suffering as an act of love in obedience to God’s will.

Christ falls three times on the way to Calvary. The sufferings due to sin in our lives continually cause failure. In falling himself, Christ shows that, despite suffering’s tendency to bring us down, discouragement can be overcome by dependence on God’s grace. Christ teaches us how to persevere through the failure and exhaustion through which our suffering inevitably leads and be of one heart and mind in pursuit of the Father’s will. Such is redemptive suffering — as the old saying goes, “no pain, no gain.”

Christ’s way to Calvary illustrates, too, how God graces us with models of love in the midst of our suffering. But like Christ, we must be attentive and receptive to them. The compassion, cooperation and generosity of others — such as Christ experienced in the fourth, fifth and sixth stations — are examples of how love is returned to love. And when unburdened by our own sufferings, through love, each of us can be channels of God’s love through service, like Mary, Simon and Veronica. “In the face of evil, suffering and sin, the only response possible for a disciple of Jesus is the gift of self, even of one’s own life, in imitation of Christ; it is the attitude of service,” Pope Francis said during World Youth Day in Poland in 2016.

Since life’s road must pass by way of Calvary, this journey of love ultimately entails that we strip ourselves of all that keeps us from God and his will. At the end of his road to Calvary, Christ shows that abandoning ourselves to the hands of providence comes with detachment from all earthly power, pleasure, wealth and honor. The Christian must be unhesitant to cast aside anything necessary to advance the kingdom of God. In this way suffering is a gift that enables us to focus on the new life in Christ that awaits believers. Through the pain of suffering we gain the joy of heaven itself — eternal happiness with God — the gates to which Christ opened for “the many.”

Rooted in Love

In meditating on Christ’s passion and death, through devotions like the Stations of the Cross, comes the realization that life’s sufferings can be joined to Christ’s — by which one learns that love forms suffering’s foundation. “The road is narrow,” St. John of the Cross said. “He who wishes to travel it more easily must cast off all things and use the cross as his cane. In other words, he must be truly resolved to suffer willingly for the love of God in all things.”

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, weeks before he was elected pope following the death of Pope John Paul II, referenced this when he said that Jesus not only taught us how to pray the Stations of the Cross, but also their meaning. “The Way of the Cross is the path of losing ourselves,” he said, “the path of true love.” Suffering expresses love’s total self-emptying required of the disciple. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Lk 9:24).

 

It’s good that we are here

2nd Sunday in Lent
One place in the world you’d want to be?
On the mountain @ Transfiguration
   “It’s good that we are here”
   Awesome / Glory
Life in Christ
   It’s good that we are here
   Peace, happiness, joy
The gift of the present
   Mass / Eucharist
   Grace

Filled with the Holy Spirit

1st Sunday of Lent
Ash Wed
Ninevites
Fasting / repentance

Christ

    Model for fasting; spiritual and physical
    Filled with the Holy Spirit
    On his game: strong and clear-minded
    Able to see lies of devil and resist his temptations

“Filled with the Holy Spirit”

     Eucharist
Go all in on Lent / “no one who believes in him will be put to shame”

Lenten Preparation & FAQ

The holy and penitential season of Lent starts this Wednesday. Here are the main events in the church during Lent:

● Ash Wednesday Mass, 12:10 pm

● Daily Mass, 12:10 pm

● Eucharistic Adoration, Wednesdays, 10 am – 6 pm

● Confessions, Wednesdays, 11 am – 12 noon

● Stations of the Cross, Fridays, after 12:10 Mass

We probably don’t associate Lent with fun, but nonetheless, here are some “fun facts” about Lent from Dan Gonzalez at www.miamiarch.org. I hope and pray that Lent will be a fruitful and holy season for you and your family.

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg

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Who or what is a Lent?

Derived from the word Lenten, which is Anglo-Saxon for springtime, Lent is the 40-day season of preparation prior to Easter which begins on Ash Wednesday.

Why is it 40 days?

Next to the number seven, the number 40 occurs most frequently in the Bible. It represents a period of testing or judgment. Lent’s duration of 40 days reflects other times of trial, testing and hardship found in the Scriptures:

• The story of Noah tells of rain falling on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights.

• Both Moses and Elijah fasted for 40 days before beginning their missions.

• The Hebrews wandered for 40 years in the desert after leaving Egypt.

• It took the spies 40 days to search out the Promised Land and bring back fruit.

• Goliath taunted the Israelite army in the morning and evening for 40 days.

• Jonah warned the Ninevites they had 40 days until God would overthrow the city.

• Jesus fasted and prayed in the desert for 40 days before beginning his ministry…

Fasting vs abstinence

“They appointed presbyters for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith.” (Acts 14:23)

Although often used interchangeably, fasting refers to the amount of food consumed, while abstinence describes the type of food denied such as meat on Fridays. These forms of physical self-denial are practiced during Lent, as are other pious customs.

Why are the statues covered during Lent in my parish?

Another Lenten custom is the draping of statues and crucifixes in purple cloth as a sign of mourning. This symbolically hides the heavenly glory realized by the saints. Occurring on the fifth Sunday of Lent, the covering of the sacred images adds to the sense of introspection and contrition.

The roots of the veiling of statues during Lent can most likely be found in Germany where, beginning before 900, it was customary to cover not only statues and images, but the entire sanctuary including the altar with a cloth.

The cloth itself was called the Hungertuch (literally hunger cloth but often translated as Lenten veil). The draping concealed the altar entirely from the faithful during Lent and was not removed until the reading of the Passion at the words “the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.”

My parish prays the Stations of the Cross during Lent. How did this custom originate?

The Stations of the Cross originated during the crusades when it was popular to visit Jerusalem to follow the steps to Calvary. After the Holy Land was captured, pilgrimages became a very dangerous affair. A desire arose to reproduce these holy places in other lands as a substitute pilgrimage.

It soon became popular to have outdoor markers indicate not only the scenes in Christ’s path to Golgotha, but also the actual distances from location to location. Crude markers eventually gave way to elaborate artwork depicting the events of Jesus’ trial, torture and

execution. By the mid-18th century, the Stations were allowed inside the church and served as a focus for Lenten devotions.

The Stations help the participant make a spiritual pilgrimage to the major scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death. Prayers are said until the entire route is complete, enabling the faithful to more literally take up their cross and follow Jesus.

Why is there no Gloria or Alleluia sung at Mass?

The Church teaches by absence as well as by presence, and Lent is a time of great loss. Eating is diminished and some foods forbidden a fast of the body. Music is scaled back, bells are silenced, and the Gloria and Alleluia are dropped from the liturgy a fast of hearing. Statues are veiled and flowers and decorations disappear a fast of sight. Depriving the senses helps the faithful maintain focus on the internal condition of the soul rather than on externals.

Physician’s view of the crucifixion of Christ

Good Friday homily

Thoughts for Lenten Observation

Prayer | Fasting | Almsgiving | Everyday Stewardship

Can you recite the Ten Commandments by heart? Several years ago, a national US survey found more people could identify the ingredients in a Big Mac and name the children in the Brady Bunch television show than recite the Ten Commandments. Of course, being able to recite them is not nearly as important as living a life in harmony with them. However, if we simply live to not break them then we are only living out half of our discipleship.

Every commandment calls us to action beyond the simplicity of its words. We are not to kill, but we are also called to support life. We are not to steal, but we are also to share what we have freely. We are to have no other Gods before our God, but we also need to actively praise and glorify Him.

To live a moral life is to do more than follow rules and laws. It is to actively live in a way that gives witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ. This way of living is stewardship. As we focus more on the penitential message of Lent, we need to not just reflect on what we have done wrong, but equally what we have failed to do. To be given so much by a loving God and not share those things with God and His people is wrong as well. Perhaps as we reflect on these things we might find ourselves adding something to our lives that will last for many Lenten seasons to come.