PERSEVERANCE AND VISION These two words sum up the Scriptures of the first two Sundays of Lent. I used the image of the startling success of the landing on Mars of the rover robot Persever- ance—named by a seventh grade student!—as a way to see the perseverance of Jesus in the desert before his ministry and Resurrection. The Mars rover was 10 years in conception and construction, and had an 8 month journey after taking off in a rocket in June last year. The successful landing in the specific intended area of Mars has been likened to shooting a dart from the White House and hitting a bullseye on a dartboard in Houston. This amazing feat didn’t just “happen”—it was all those years of planning and hard work that did so.
So with Jesus in the desert, he was embracing the hardest parts of our human journey—without food, with no one to recognize his goodness or support him, with no power over any one or any human structures (those were the three temptations he rejected). He fought the battle against emptiness and evil within himself, for 40 days. St. Mark said last week he encountered the Devil; wild beasts, and angels. So along with evil, he encountered the wildness and wonder of creation, and the goodness of God. This was the Perseverance that enabled him to enter his joyful but perilous ministry, his death, and Resurrection—a harder accomplishment than that dart throw.
This week we get a Vision of where this perseverance took him, and can take us. Through the ancient wisdom of the church, at the start of Lent we get a prefigurpement of Easter in the Transfiguration. Not just a time of sacrifice and penance for its own sake, but to lead us into the amazing victory of Jesus over sin and evil in our lives and, ultimately, like him, over death. From their long journeys over dusty roads, he was lifted up—I like his clothes becoming “dazzlingly white”, shown with the great figures of their tradition, and pronounced “Beloved” as at his Baptism. As they resumed their mundane life, he told the disciples that it was a sign of where they were all going—into glory with God. This vision was to give them encouragement to keep walking those dusty roads with him.
And so with us. The meaning of Lent is not penance and gloom, but our journey of transformation into the heart and love of God. As St. Paul says today, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
The work of the parish goes on in so many usual ways, the dusty roads we walk. A special shout out to the Worship Committee and all those who help in this area, for what’s been done already to begin Lent and plan for Holy Week and Easter. It’s a very intense period of work with some things always uncharted. Our Council and boards for Finance, School, Guild, Knights and 150 Anniversary are doing fine work.
A special accomplishment we celebrate this week is the long-awaited opening of our school’s Stream Studio and Innovation Lab. Made possible by a generous grant from the Roman Catholic Foundation, these areas enable our students to do hands-on experiments and projects in the otherwise academic areas of Science, Technology, Religion Engineering and Math; and also give the capability to write and film movies digitally. There is also a 3D printer, cutting edge technology that I want to see in action. There has been a good group of faculty and parents working with our principal on this area.
There will be a ribbon-cutting next Friday March 5 to formally open it, with Archdiocesan officials and coverage in the Review and other media.
Hitting that bullseye in Houston from Washington is a lot of work, but worth it.
Fr Tom Wyrsch