Sisters & Brothers in Christ in the Parishes of St. Joseph’s & St. Anthony’s:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
The Season of Lent begins through the imposition of ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday. The ashes are imprinted on our foreheadswith a sign of the Cross. It is meant to remind us of our identity and relationship with God. First, it means we belong to God. We are his children. Second, as narrated by St. Paul in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, “we are ambassadors for Christ.” We have the responsibility to make Jesus’ presence felt and experienced in this world. Third, given the identity and relationship that we have with God, as His children and ambassadors of His Son, we are constantly called to holiness of life. In the Book of Leviticus we find a command from God himself: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.”
Thus, these 40 days of Lent are an opportunity given to us for turning back to God, for conversion. Through the help of the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, hopefully, we will come to acknowledge the ways we have turned away from God in our lives and we will focus on turning our hearts and minds back toward Him. Pope Francis tweets, “In life we all make many mistakes. Let us learn to recognize our errors and ask forgiveness.” This Season of Lent is indeed given to us for drawing ourselves closer to God. Please take advantage of celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
This year, as a way of giving us a Parish Lenten Mission related to the disciplines of Lent, may I suggest the following: Prayer. I invite families in our parishes to worship and pray together especially by attending Sunday Eucharist. Fasting. I encourage families to gather for a simple meal at least once a week. Within the simplicity of a meal, a family should be able to save some costs; the very nature of a simple meal is already a manifestation of your solidarity with any poor person or family. Almsgiving. If you so desire, your simple meal can be translated as an act of almsgiving or charity. Whatever you save from having a simple meal can be shared with anyone who is experiencing hunger for food. It could be in our own parish community, the Town of Smithers or Houston, or anywhere in the world where you think there are poor in need of your generosity who will receive and appreciate it.
Let us strive to live a holy life as we journey throughout this Season of Lent. As we do, may it lead us to be mindful of the reality around us, our identity and our mission. I pray for a holy, prayerful and fruitful Lenten journey. May we reach Easter with hearts and minds renewed in the Lord!