Sorry, I didn’t get an article in last week. My retreat was amazing. My spiritual director, Father Jim Rafferty, was an amazing director. He gave me lots of wisdom and things to pray about. It was truly a blessed week. God really does delight in us, His creations. We are His daughters and sons. But He not only created us, but He continues to guide and mold us. He delights in who we are and who we are becoming.
As we begin this Lenten season, we remember that we are fallen human beings who sin. We are not self-sufficient even though our American culture tells us this is a goal in life. We are created by God to be dependent on Him. Lent is a great reminder of this. We cannot save ourselves. We cannot forgive our own sins. We cannot become the persons God created us to be without Him. We need His mercy, forgiveness, and love if we are to become the amazing virtuous, loving people He created and desires us to be. He loves us where we are at, but loves us enough to want us to become better yet. God loves us and wants to heal us of things that hold us back.
This Lent we need to be humble enough to believe we need saving. Ask Jesus to be your Savior. Ask Him to heal you of your wounds. Say yes to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Peace of Christ,
We are in our last full week of Ordinary Time before Lent starts. It also means I’m leaving Monday, February 17 for Clearwater, Florida, just south of Tampa. We are going down there for our annual 8 day silent retreat. Being silent for eight days is not as hard as you might think. In some ways it is freeing. Especially for those of you who are introverts, it’s kind of freeing not to have to make small talk at the meal table. Plus, it is not completely silent. We have Mass everyday together (There will be about 25 priests on retreat together.) and that’s obviously said out. Also, each person on retreat meets with a spiritual director for an hour each day…and we do not use sign language. You get to do four Holy Hours each day. So there is also some time for rest and relaxation. For those of you who know me too well, don’t worry, Father Beerman and I are bringing our golf clubs. We hope to get a round in before the retreat and two rounds after the retreat. As of now, no rounds are planned for during the retreat. Some of us might find golfing silently quite difficult. I’ll be back late Tuesday, February 25.
So because I’m gone, there will be no Thursday or Saturday morning Adoration and Mass. On Friday, February 21, Marcie will have a little Communion service for the residents at the usual time.
If you have a Sacramental emergency, you can continue to call XXX-XXX-XXXX.
In the Gospel Jesus says that He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. We have the Commandment, “Thou shall not kill.” Even so, hopefully a husband does not need the law to prevent him from killing his wife. Hopefully he loves her so much that the idea of killing her would never cross his mind. The law is often a bare minimum. Love is usually not about bare minimums, but maximums. Hopefully the husband is not just not thinking about killing his wife, but about how to love her more passionately. Jesus is Love, and He instructs us to love one another. Love is where it is at.
A group of parishioners are down in Belize again this year. As you know, they have been fundraising. It should be another amazing experience for those involved. Please pray for them and especially for those they help. Some of the people they help down there are in dire situations. Even so, a lot of them have so much joy. It is a good reminder for us to find our ultimate joy in God, in friendships, in relationships, rather than in money or material things. Money and material things can make life more enjoyable, but our ultimate joy is found in God. We see this the lives of the rich and famous. So many of them are sad and depressed despite having all the world has to offer. We also see this in our young people. We need to make sure we teach the young how to have authentic friendships and relationships, ones that are not mediated by a screen all the time. God created us human beings to be social creatures. When our desire for authentic relationships doesn’t get fed, we naturally become depressed and anxious. We need to make sure the young know their identity is found in Jesus Christ, that they are first and foremost a beloved son or daughter of God the Father.
Today in the Gospel, Jesus talks about the salt and the light of the world. As a world-wide Catholic Church, we are the largest charity organization. We have the largest organization of hospitals and universities of higher learning. Catholics have been salting the earth and shedding light on the Truth of Jesus Christ for 2000 years. But what about you? When people look at you and the way you live your life, do they give glory to God? If not, maybe we need to change our behavior. If so, praise God.
Peace of Christ,
Today we celebrate the Presentation of the Lord. We hear this story during the Christmas season. As per the Jewish law and custom, Mary and Jospeh take Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem. While they are there, Simeon makes some bold claims about Jesus. God had promised him that he would not die until he saw the Messiah with his own eyes. Simeon also tells Mary that her own heart will be pierced. This did not happen literally, but spiritually. Any mother can tell you how much it pains them to see their children in pain. How much more would this be for the woman without sin, whose soul was so closely united to her Son, the Son of God? Also there was a prophetess named Anna. Anna gives thanks to God and spoke of the redemption that would come to Jerusalem by the child Jesus.
Through our Baptism into Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, we too become celebrated sons and daughters of God. We too are called to do great things for the Kingdom of God. Simeon and Anna foretell the extraordinary things that Jesus will do. How do we live our ordinary lives in extraordinary ways? How can we be an extraordinary mother, an extraordinary father, an extraordinary son or daughter? How do we do the ordinary things extraordinarily?