Today we celebrate the First Sunday of Lent. Trust. Trouble. Temptation. The Israelites remembered and trusted in God’s constant, guiding presence and gave back to God the first fruits of the land. The psalmist trusted God would be present in times of trouble. Jesus sur- vived temptation in the desert, only by trusting in God. In whom or in what do we place our trust when we are troubled and tempted?
Next weekend will be the Second Sunday of Lent. The readings next week remind us to keep our eyes fixed on heaven. God asks Abram to look up at the sky and count the stars.
Philippians reminds us our citizenship is in heaven. Peter, James and John’s eyes are fixed heavenward as they climb the mountain and witness Jesus’ transfiguration. Where are our eyes fixed? On our electronics, on what others have? Let us ask for the grace to fix our eyes and hearts heavenward.
Lent is upon us! The word LENT comes from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “SPRING.” Well, as I write this we are hardly in Spring, with the single digit temperatures and the below zero wind chills. HOWEVER, we do know that Spring is coming. We know that the flowers will soon be sprouting from the earth and the trees will be in full bloom. Just so we know that the promise of Jesus’s life, death, and, most importantly, His Resurrection will be celebrated in six weeks. We have faith and we need to celebrate that faith. We need to live that faith. We need to be open to the message of Jesus, not just as He goes into the desert for his forty days of fast- ing and prayer, nor He is transfigured before His apostles, Peter, James, and John (as we will hear next weekend), but as we see, know, and celebrate His presence in our lives TODAY. How do we respond to His call to us? How are we growing in faith? How are we listening to God speaking to us? As Saint Paul said in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, used as the second reading on Ash Wednesday, “In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you. Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Make this Lent special through prayer, almsgiving, and fasting!
The Rite of Election: The Rite of Sending of our candidates and catechumens for the Easter Sacraments was to be celebrated this morning at the 9:30 A.M. Mass. This afternoon, at 2:30, at the Cathedral, Bishop Rivituso will officially “elect” our catechumens to receive the Sacraments at the Easter Vigil. He will also celebrate the ceremony of the “Call to Continuing Conversion of Candidates.” These two ceremonies, while separate, are often celebrated at the same time because of convenience. In both all who are preparing for the Easter Sacraments are called to be faithful Christians! Please pray for our catechumens (soon to be “the Elect”) and our candidates as they journey during this Lenten Season to the life-giving waters of Baptism, the coming of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation, and the reception of Holy Communion as the life giving Bread which has come down from heaven.
Parish Mission: Thanks to all who attended the Mission on March 3, 4, and 5. Even though the weather was against us on Sunday, the attendance picked up during the week. I think it is most important that we listen to Mr. Molina’s reminder: “There is a BIG difference between being a FAN of Jesus and a FOLLOWER of Jesus!” So let’s be FOLLOWERS of Jesus, and not just FANS! Don’t forget we are all called to be saints, as he reminded us, in quoting Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter 4, verse 3: “ This is the will of God: your sanctification.” Are we willing to embark upon this journey and to do our best to be saints? He left us many things to think about. May we listen again and again to the Spirit speaking to us, especially during this Lenten season!
New Elevator lobby and elevator: The bids for our construction of the new elevator lobby and renovation of the hall and the “small meeting room,” are due this coming Tuesday. Let’s pray that they are in line with the estimates given to us several months ago. I’ll let you know next week how they turned out. HOWEVER, a “curve was thrown us” last week. It seems that there is A LOT of ASBESTOS in the Parish Hall. Some of it was encapsulated, with the “new floor” that is in the Msgr. Schneider Hall. However, the original asbestos is underneath that floor and there is a LOT of asbestos tiles that weren’t encapsulated. (If you have been in the basement of the church and seen where the tables and chairs are kept, you already know that!) However there is plenty in the walls and throughout the building. So, the curve thrown us, was that it must be “remediated,” prior to any construction. Since we would still like to get the major work done immediately after Easter the remediation of the asbestos in the hall will have to be done beginning later this month. The Archdiocese and I are to receive some proposals and decide who best can do the work to have it done. “STAY TUNED.”
This was of course written prior to the meeting of organizations on Ash Wednesday evening. Thanks to all who attended. I hope that it went well. ALL will have to put up with this “momentary light affliction,” as Saint Paul says (2 Corinthians 4:17) so that the better good might happen for us all. I’ll let you know next week what we came up with from the meeting on Ash Wednesday. Thank you for your prayers and patience.
Principal Search: The Search Committee continues its work. They have identified around a half dozen candidates that they would like to continue to interview. Again, more on that next week. Please pray for the committee and a successful outcome for the betterment of our school and parish.
Please remember that we have Stations of the Cross each Friday at 2:00 P.M.
Also, at the end of this week will be our school’s Spring Break. Please have a good and safe break. May it be restful for all! Since so many of us are Irish, or would like to be, please have a very happy and blessed Saint Patrick’s Weekend next weekend. “BE SAFE AND SANE!” I will be out of the country from Monday afternoon through the early evening of March 21. The Internet works quite well and so do the phones, so I will be in constant touch with the parish. Please pray that I get some rest and relaxation. Suffice it to say I think I’m getting too old to do all that is required of a pastor of a parish with so many things going on.
Have a very fruitful and prayerful Lenten Season.
Fr Joe Weber