Another tragedy this week with lives lost leaving people to ask: what can we do? It seems that not a week goes by that we are faced with acts of terror and a complete disregard for human life. What can we do about it? Our first reaction is to commend those directly affected to our thoughts and prayers. This past week certain "celebrities" made comments to the effect; we don't want your thoughts and prayers, they mean nothing and they do nothing. While it may seem a cliché, it is not meaningless nor void of purpose. Thoughts and prayers are to be the basis of actions that need to be taken. Thoughtfulness means seeking a path of action that addresses the situation to find resolution. Prayer brings us the grace and guidance for true and lasting change to take place. It is recognizing that we need assistance to make that change. If we have neither thought nor prayer we can try to make changes which will not solve the problems afflicting families and individuals today which cause them to seek violent means to change or get even for things not being the way they want. During Lent we need to make time for both reflection of our life and seek, through prayer, the strength to take true, lasting and beneficial change for all. There is no quick fix or a single law that will solve the problem of violence in our society. We absolutely do need to take action, but action that is supported by clear thought and reflection assisted by prayer to find the best path to resolution.
FEBRUARY 18th ~ FROM THE DEACON'S BENCH
At the beginning of Lent we hear once more of Jesus’ temptation in the desert, this year from the Gospel of Mark. Jesus’ testing “for forty days” is meant to remind us of the People of Israel’s 40-year trial in the wilderness. We Catholics recapitulate these trials in our own forty-day Lenten testing. But just as the Israelite’s wilderness wanderings ended when they took possession of the Promised Land; just as Jesus’ temptations ended when He began his three-year mission proclaiming the Kingdom of God; so our period of Lenten fasting and abstinence is meant to bring us, repentant and renewed, to the joys of Easter morning. We go into the desert, like Christ, to be “put to death in the flesh” so that, we may come out of the desert, like Christ, “brought to life in the spirit.”
We received ashes on our forehead on Ash Wednesday as we were admonished, in words taken from today’s gospel, to “repent, and believe in the gospel.” These forty days of Lent are meant to bring us to a deeper and more thoughtful state of repentance, a word translated from the Greek term, metanoia, meaning “a change of mind.” The change brought about by our Lenten struggle against sin and all its manifestations, in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, without Whom no real repentance is possible, is a metanoia in the mind, in the heart, indeed, in our entire way of life. In this way, we, along with Christ, may preach the Good News to our suffering and sinful world.
This Wednesday we enter the Holy Season of Lent. This is a time of penitence and looking inward to the state of our soul and also looking outward to see ourselves in relationship to those around us because it is not all about us only. We need time and reflection to consider the state of our immortal soul. We cannot rely on the notion that God would not let us fail. God gave us free will because he wanted us to love him and be drawn to him freely. But that free will means that we can also make choices that separate us from God and can prevent our soul from reaching union with God in heaven. Even though our soul is immortal that does not mean that it cannot be harmed or damaged. It is up to us and the choices we make - remember Adam and Eve? They gave up paradise and eternal life in order to be like God and yet the more they focused on themselves through temptation the less they became like God. Lent gives us the time and opportunity to nurture our soul and strengthen our Faith. To become who we were meant to be; children of God and heirs to eternal life. Whether we live up to it or choose to be less than who were created to be that is our decision. Let us strive to choose the better portion. Let us choose God. Let us choose life.
Beginning Wednesday, February 21st, Fr. Don will hold a series for the men of the parish on becoming apologists. An apologist is one who is a defender and explainer of the Faith. So many times we can be questioned about our faith by co-workers and even members of our own families; some of whom have left the faith for any number of reasons. In the letter of Peter we are reminded to "always be ready to give a witness for our Faith". This series will help to do that. We will meet at 6:30pm until 7:30pm in Fr. Klink Hall. Perfect timing for those who bring their children to PREP.