Monday, February 27, 2017

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time - February 26, 2017

Easter is a little later this year, and thus Lent begins a little later. When Lent begins later, it always makes it a little easier to get back to normal after the Christmas festivities and not feel as though the year is rushing by. And yet no matter how late Ash Wednesday is, I always want to ask the question, “What, already?” And that is where we are. This Wednesday, March 1, is Ash Wednesday, and our holy time begins.

As we prepare for Lent, I call you attention to the pamphlet in the bulletin today. This pamphlet gives the schedule for important Lenten events and guidelines for keeping the season. I remember my attitude toward the season when I was younger. Lent was always marked by the question, “What are you giving up?” Lent was a time of deprivation, and my goal was to get through it. How longingly I awaited my Easter basket each year, eagerly anticipating the thrill of tearing open a candy bar and enjoying what I had missed for the Forty Days. I suspect many of us still carry at least a little bit of that attitude with us as adults. And I cannot deny that ads for steak restaurants – or even fast-food hamburger joints – look so much more enticing on Ash Wednesday. But I hope we can make this Lent more about the preparation for Christ’s Resurrection and our new life in heaven. In fact, rather than think of the forty days of Lent, I try to think of the ninety days that begin with Lent and lead through the Easter season, right up to Pentecost.

To help with that attitude, I would like to call attention to one particular entry in the Lent pamphlet. I would like to invite you to make this the “best Lent ever.” That is the title for a special program that we are taking part in. At Christmas we gave out copies of the newest book by Matthew Kelly, Resisting Happiness. Kelly’s organization, Dynamic Catholic, is offering the “Best Lent Ever” program. The best part is that it is very simple to take part. All you have to do is go to and sign up with your email address. Those of us who sign up will get an email each day during Lent with suggestions for the season, along with videos featuring Matthew Kelly and reflections from other members of the Dynamic Catholic organization.

The pamphlet gives other ideas for Lent, along with the regulations for the season and our parish’s observances. Most of these things should be familiar to us from our previous observances of Lent, so I am focusing primarily on the Best Lent Ever program. But the entire season is a time of great opportunity for us. As St. Paul tells us in the second reading, “Behold, now is the very acceptable time. Behold, now is the day of salvation.”
                                                                                              Father H