Monthly Archives: February 2016

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The Lenten Journey

We have entered once again into our Lenten journey. These forty days are meant to help us step back from our busy lives and reflect upon our relationship with God; where am I in union with God, where do I need to improve. Those of us who have been through a few Lenten seasons may occasionally grow weary of this season but it should be a joyful time because we are seeking the Lord more fully. The young among us may wonder what this time in the Church is all about.       Baptism is the overarching theme of Lent. Why? Because baptism cleanses us from the original sin we are born with. We are enlightened and become children of God, brought into His Church. We are given the gifts of the Holy Spirit and His Divine Life which makes it possible to live holy lives; lives where we can overcome the temptations we face every day. Baptism begins our journey toward union with God. Lent is a period of purification and enlightenment like baptism.      In the Gospel reading today Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit was led into the desert where He would be tempted. He fasted during these forty days. We are led by the Holy Spirit as well. We will fast during this Lenten time to join with Jesus; to hunger for God rather than the things of this world. Now is the time to reflect upon our lives; how have I filled myself? Is it with the material, passing things of this world or do I seek the things that last?      Take time to do something out of the ordinary this Lent. Come to Eucharistic Adoration, devote 15 minutes a day to pray, read a good Catholic book, give time to help others, attend the Stations of the Cross or pray them on your own. Try to inspire growth in your faith and draw closer to God. Reflect upon the amazing gift God has given to us in Jesus. Ask yourself how can I open myself to God?      Several years ago I had a Lent that changed how I looked at this beautiful season and changed my faith life. I changed from a focus on “giving up” to one of faith growth. While the penitential aspects are important, growing closer to God is what this season should be about. If the absence of some particular food or pleasure helps you grow closer to God then stick with it. If you don’t find spiritual growth in that pursuit then fast and abstain when the Church requires and try some other way to get in touch with God. We’re all different, so do what works for you. But do something!
Have a blessed Lenten Season!

Deacon Ray

*Please keep in your prayers our second grade students who will be receiving their First Reconciliation on Wednesday! 

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Lent, a Season of Renewal

We begin the season of Lent from Wednesday, February 10th, which is known as Ash Wednesday. Lent denotes 40 days of penance, a time of conversion and a time for deepening one’s faith. This season has twofold character: one is that we recall our baptismal commitment to live as the children of God and the second is that we make amendment for the failures to live up to that commitment through prayer and penance. Thus it is a call for us to see more clearly the gravity of sin, as an offence against God, our loving Father in Heaven. In this way, we are called to prepare ourselves better, in order to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of Jesus, namely, his suffering, death, Resurrection and Ascension.

Moreover, the season of Lent invites us to a greater awareness of our Christian responsibility to care for the needs of others. In his message for Lent, Pope Francis states that Lent is a time of conversion and a time to deepen our faith, demonstrating and sharing it through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The Pope insists that the Catholics are called to recognize the greatness of God’s love, seen in the death and resurrection of Jesus and the obligation to communicate God’s love and mercy through our words and deeds. According to him, the root of all sin is our thinking that one is god and there is no need of God. In the words of the Pope, “The danger always remains that by a constant refusal to open the doors of their hearts to Christ, who knocks on them in the poor, the proud, rich and powerful will end up condemning themselves and plunging into the eternal abyss of solitude which is hell.”

The Sunday Gospel readings during Lent this year will be from the Gospel according to Luke and they fittingly and gradually lead us for a deep personal conversion. They focus on how faith transforms our life, giving us the stories on the temptation of Christ in the desert, the Transfiguration, the barren fig tree and the story of the prodigal son and the story of the adulterous woman, who receives God’s mercy and reforms her life.

As we begin the season of Lent, let us fix our attention on the precious blood of Christ, the blood that was shed for the forgiveness of our sins and ultimately for our salvation. Let us consider this Season of Lent as an opportunity, which God has given to repent for our sins and return to Him.

Wishing you a holy season of Lent,

Fr. Arul Joseph V.