Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lent 3

Have you ever been truly thirsty? We live in an area where there is plenty of water. Imagine being in a desert with cracked lips, head aching; these come from going without water for an extended period of time. Those who have had such a thirst can easily be grateful for water. Today, Moses, the Israelites and the woman at the well call on us to consider the experience of thirst and to use that experience to deepen our longing for the God who alone can satisfy every human thirst.

Jesus quenches our spiritual thirst with the living water of grace: the love of God which is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We should remain true to our baptism and hope that this living water will turn into a spring inside us, welling up to eternal life.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lent 2

We get a reminder of where we are headed right at the beginning of Lent. The Transfiguration is a glimpse of the Resurrection. St. Thomas Aquinas called this the greatest miracle of Jesus because through it we clearly see Jesus as God. Our participation in the Resurrection is the goal of our belief. When we were baptized we died to sin and rose to new life in Christ. Every year the season of Lent is a time for us, Christians, to prepare to renew our baptismal promises at Easter. This weekend’s Gospel directs us to recognize that the ultimate goal of our belief is a full share in the life of the risen Christ. The Transfiguration calls us to rediscover Jesus’ divine light in our lives.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lent 1

Jesus went into the desert to fast and pray for forty days. While he was there the devil tempted him. Temptations are part of life. Desire can drive our existence. That’s not always bad. The desire to achieve, to accomplish, to excel can be very healthy. Lacking this kind of motivation can be problematic in life, even leading to depression. But when desire overtakes us, it can develop into a greed that wants more and more. Self-absorbed attitudes can easily get the best of us.

Lenten fasting is meant to tame that desire, to pull in the uncontrolled attempts to fulfill all wants. We have been given another Lent to do some serious work. The goal of Lent is about conversion; changing and reestablishing ourselves anew. Giving something up for the next six weeks can remind a person that even though God created everything good, we don’t have to possess it all to be happy.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ordinary Time 9

On Ash Wednesday we begin the season of Lent by receiving ashes on our forehead. Receiving ashes in the shape of a cross identifies us as a disciple of Jesus Christ. The ashes also serve as reminders of human mortality and the need for repentance and change in our lives. This day is a time for fasting and abstaining from meat. We begin the forty-day season of Lent by keeping our sights on Jesus’ victory over death on Easter. Lent is a time for change – changing our lives to be more Christ-like. Lent is a time when we make space in our lives to think about our relationship with our heavenly Father and the ways in which we are responding or failing to respond to his love and care for us. This desire to change our lives toward God and away from sin finds outward expression in various ways: prayer, fasting, almsgiving, reading the Bible, praying the Rosary, following the Stations of the Cross, spiritual reading, going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

This Lent, when we receive ashes, keep in mind that it is an invitation to repent, a challenge to grow closer to the Lord, and a gentle reminder that our time on earth is limited.