Lent 2018, how will this Lent be different from any other Lent? What might you and we as a parish do during THIS LENT? Our lives will be holy, the point of Christian baptism, when we convert ourselves and become one community for Christ, when we know, love, and serve God in this world so that we will be happy with Him in heaven. Spend your Lent so we will be one Catholic community gathered in Jesus Christ. Lent calls us to live a way different from our own. This Lent, live your life as God leads you.
Seek The Lord While He May Be Found. Read Isaiah 55:6-7.
Have you found the passage? Are you willing to do the actions: seek, call, forsake, and return? These verbs will call us to faith and set us on the way to conversion. As we begin the habit of holiness in Lent, allow holiness (perfection) to be the rule for life in our faith community. By the end of Lent, our faith should be renewed, our lives should be holy. By the end of Lent; know, love, serve God. By the end of Lent, seek the Lord, call upon him for he is near, forsake sinful ways, return to the Lord.
Living a way of life other than your own is an appropriate theme for Lent. Our lives are lived for the Kingdom of God. Has the Kingdom of God been compromised by your "life-style"?
Folks, here's the deal. I don't believe for one minute that the crisis in our church is a division over labels or direction of liberal or conservative. The crisis is a faith crisis. It's a crisis of conversion and relationship with Our Lord and His Church. We live a generic U.S. identity which is highlighted at patriotic moments. We also live a generic Christian identity which is highlighted at peak moments and as a "Sunday obligation" sometimes.
During this Lent, let's go deeper; deeper into conversion of mind, heart, and moral actions; to know, love, and serve the Lord. Seek the Lord. Seek a relationship with Him.
KNOW God and the Church
Commit yourselves as individuals and as families to read and know the Sunday scriptures before you get to Mass. Athletes study a game plan. Marketers learn a sales pitch. Read and know the scriptures so you can experience them more deeply.
Be formed in your faith. Attend various Faith Formation opportunities prepared and presented for you in our parish and diocese. Know how to serve as Jesus served before you go out and do good acts. When do you take time to learn or up- date your faith? Has the intellectual part of conversion been lost; is the intellectual life of our Tradition alive in you? Unless you know, how can you do?
LOVE and SERVE GOD and His Church
Practice a human act of kindness; open a door, welcome someone with a smile and happy greeting. Don't leave trash; pick up trash. Turn the expected human act into an act of Christian grace and mercy. Practice the corporal works of mercy, begin on our campus with our community. If you are unwilling to practice Christianity at the church, does faith stand a chance elsewhere? Notice how many corporations (Honda for example) are selling their product by accentuating "acts of kindness"; shouldn't we Christians be known by our service to Christ who is our neighbor, our fellow parishioner? Serve as Jesus served. Begin by holding a door open, greeting other parishioners, and cleaning the church as you leave it.
Form community differently. This year at Fish Fry sit with someone you don't know. Let's face it, the fish fry is not the healthiest meal but it is an opportunity to meet people. Can you help to form one intentional faith community of St. Juliana Falconieri Parish and Grammar School?
Serve the parish community in a new way. Will you be a Sunday minister - greeter (usher), Eucharistic Minister, reader, or altar server? If you have been faithful to one ministry for a long time, could you recruit a successor and bring on someone new?
Can you fast and abstain differently - turn away from gossip and hurtful comments. Ease the burden of another person. Be grateful for your life and consciously become the person God made YOU to be; loving and precious.
Instead of reciting problems can you offer solutions? Instead of saying: "Somebody should ... " can you be the somebody who did? Figure a way to attend Sunday Mass, participate in Faith Formation opportunities, and serve on councils. When you are absent, you are missed.
Seek the Lord while He may be found. Find God, allow Him to change your life. This Lent form a deeper relationship with Our Lord and your parish community. Why? Because it is the way to salvation.