As we fast this lent let us be mindful of why we are fasting. What positive good will flow from it. Will our fasting remind us of the presence of Jesus in our lives? Will our fasting help us to be more accepting of other sinners like ourselves? Will our fasting lead us to erase prejudice from our hearts? Will our fasting help us to be more accepting of those whose lifestyle does not agree with ours? Will our fasting lead us to reach out to the poor, the physically poor, the spiritually poor, the emotionally poor?
Lord God, you who came and lived among us, you who showed us how to live and what to value in life, give us your Spirit that we might make this Lent what you want, not what we want. Help us to look at the world with the eyes of faith and to see more clearly where we are called to be your hands of healing, your arms for hugging, your words for comfort, and your ears for deep listening. With your help we can once again bring you to a waiting world.
The cross is the cost of loving. We pick it up in our decision to reach out in love and sacrifice something of our own security and comfort. We carry it day by day as we continue to offer love even when it is constantly rejected, ignored or taken advantage of. Each time we see the cross today, let us remember the call to love that it represents. Love of God and one another is the path that leads to life.
Ash Wednesday –
On Ash Wednesday we acknowledge that there is no pointing at other people, or groups, or nations as being uniquely evil and in need of repentance. Gathered as the church on this Ash Wednesday we declare the honest truth about ourselves. “Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.” Today we are all called to turn from sin and be faithful to the gospel.
For Jesus, his primary claim to greatness is service to others. He was the willing servant of anyone who needed him. How does that fit in an age that is so very impressed with credentials and degrees and titles and positions in the company? You and I are followers of Jesus Christ so let’s do our best to make the gospel become a reality in our lives.
“Why is it that we could not expel the demon? This kind you can drive out only by prayer.” Unless we maintain contact with God, we lose vitality and humility. Ministry based on a foundation of prayerful solitude provides a great balance in life.
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time –
I think Jesus is talking about loving the people we must live with, and work with, and rub shoulders with day after day. Some of these people can be very unpleasant, unkind, and unfair. They say things we don’t like. They take us for granted. They show no appreciation for the good things we do for them. Their presence makes our little part of the world very difficult. Could it be that these are the people Jesus had in mind when he asked us to love our enemies?
Chair of St. Peter –
Perhaps some of the diversity we find in the church today is prefigured in the work of St. Peter and St. Paul. They dealt with diversity of opinion in their day and we find the same situation today. The important thing is to find the truth in God. It is important for all of us to be able to live with some ambiguity in life, in other words we need to be open to the working of the Holy Spirit.
St. Peter Damian –
The Cross reveals the true nature of sin, it unveils the power of sacrificial goodness and it challenges what we have taken for granted. The church cannot face this world as Peter originally had in mind. The cross is at the center of our faith. What are we going to do about it? It is easy to follow Jesus on Sundays. What about the rest of the week? Do we allow the cross to challenge us?
Each twenty-four hours God offers us a new day like a blank page. The best moment of all is the present moment that we can fill with serious and positive thoughts, thoughts of joy and optimism, thoughts of peace for ourselves and for others.