THE HOLY SEASON OF LENT
Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, our forty day journey which will bring us to Easter, the death, but then the triumphant Resurrection of Jesus! Where should we be? With Jesus! All that we do during these 40 days should always lead us to Jesus. We should realize what a gift we received when God gave us Jesus!
Reading the Gospel of Matthew (4:1-11) when Jesus spent forty days in the desert and the Devil tried to tempt Him, He never gave up His love for God, His Father. Nothing could ever get Him to turn away from spreading the Word of God to all He met. If anything, it drew Jesus closer to God, especially when He said, “Go away Satan! The scripture says, worship the Lord your God and serve only Him!”
We must realize that not only God loves us, but so does Jesus. Therefore, we will walk with Him for these forty days, drawing closer to Him as we come to understand all that He did for us out of love. We can begin on Ash Wednesday while we are at Mass by looking at the Cross, feeling His great love as He died on the Cross for all the sins of us all!
Before doing this, He showed us how to live with each other in peace as the family of God, teaching us the Commandments, the Law of Love, the Beatitudes, how to pray, how to take care of each other, and how to be God’s Hands on this earth. He helps us realize that we should put the needs of others before ourselves, being kind and caring to all those around us, especially the poor, the sick, the forgotten.
Where do we begin our walk? Beyond looking at the Cross in Church and receiving ashes on our foreheads in the shape of a Cross, we should turn to God to confess our sins, pick up our own crosses, and walk with Jesus as he carries His own Cross. As John Paul the Second said, “Christ is waiting for you, and you will be at peace with God.”
We are called to pray…….
We know many prayers that we all say each day, but the best prayer is just talking to God in our own words. May we all say prayers to let God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit know that we need them in our lives! Even Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our mother, too. She was a part of the life of Jesus from the time she carried Him, raising Him in the image of God. Whatever prayers we say, we should think about the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, and most importantly, the words of Jesus, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Do we take the time to pray for others in our family, our friends, and all others that we see each day? Can we see the need to pray for others who may be having problems, a sickness, and all those who are poor? We should pray for them that their worlds will be better for them soon, especially all those who have turned away from God. We should pray for all those who have a cross to carry in life just as Jesus suffered as He carried His Cross!
We are called to fast…..
It is easier to fast from foods during Lent, giving up a special treat we so enjoy. The challenge becomes fasting from bad habits that are not helping us become the person God made us to be. Can we fast from hurting the feelings of others, talking about others with our family and friends, certain TV shows and movies that we should not watch because they show much unkindness to other people, bad language, and hurting others in so many ways? What about the use of technology? Again, do we use it in a productive way to write or seek information, or are we using it to hurt others? What about the use of cell phones? Do we need to have them in our hands most of the time to text or talk to other people? Why can’t we talk to others face to face? Where is the dignity of life, the justice, the love and caring that God has called us to?
What about the beautiful world God has given us to enjoy? Do we take care of it? There is nothing in this world that God did not create, be it human life, animal life, the beautiful land and water forms! Do we help to take care of all of this … to help take care of all that God created?
We are called to almsgiving, to loving acts of charity…….
Do we all help take care of the poor? We can do this as we fill our Rice Bowls with change , or we can donate food to our Food Pantry, giving them food that we very much enjoy, especially our favorite treats that they never have.
At the Last Supper, Jesus washed the feet of His Disciples. Can we wash the feet of others as we take care of their needs? Jesus truly does not expect us to wash their feet, but realize what they don’t have whether it be food or just someone to spend time with them, talk with them, and help them in any way we can. Do we see the face of Jesus in others just as Simon did when he helped Jesus carry His Cross or Veronica who wiped His face as He was about to be crucified? Are we there to help others carry their crosses in life with acts of kindness and caring? Can we do so with a smiling face and a gentle touch in all that we do for them so that they can see Jesus in us ?
We can reach out to others to show us the way…….
On February 27th, we will have a night of reflection on Lent for people of all ages, letting them know the meaning of Lent, with a speaker for the adults, and with priests, deacons, and our pastoral staff helping the children not only understand Lent, but with activities to in different age groups. This evening will begin with a prayer, followed by a dinner. We will then break up into groups within our school to carry out whatever is planned. We will then come back together and share all that we did and conclude with a meaningful dessert related to Lent. We pray many people will come and take part in this Lenten Reflection. There will more information in the bulletin soon, with a flyer so that all may join us.
Where should we be on the fortieth day of our journey?…….
We should be with Jesus in all that we think, say, or do! People should see Jesus alive within us and we should see Jesus in others around us. As we pray the Stations of the Cross, we should feel the love of Jesus at each station, but also, we should see others and how we can help them in so many ways! We should be the Light of Jesus for others as we pray for them because they suffer as they are mistreated by others, live all alone or live a life filled with hunger, unhappiness, carry many problems, worries, sicknesses, and especially those who need God back in their lives.
As God said about His Son, “This is my Son of whom I am well pleased.” As we finish our forty days, will God be able to say that about us? May our prayer to God be, as we begin our journey of forty days,
Bless our Lenten signs that will remind us to reach out
to others and find You.
Bless us in our efforts to grow in our love for You
and for our brothers and sisters, our generosity towards others in
their time of need, and our willingness to live as true followers
of Jesus, Your Son, in whose name we pray.
With the Cross of Jesus in your hearts, may the holy season of Lent bring you closer to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
This is my prayer for everyone. May God Bless you always.
Mrs. Judith Rowinski