One of the chief characteristics of Jesus’ life is his commitment to prayer. At every key moment from baptism to death,
Jesus shows himself as a man of prayer. As disciples, we,
too, are called to be people of prayer, so this might be a
good moment for us to review our life of prayer.
Like all relationships, our relationship with God takes time
and effort – time to talk, share our lives and get to know him
in all his glory and life-changing power. And just as God
wants us to share our needs, he also asks that we stop and
listen to his word.
With all this in mind, we read today Luke’s account of the
transfiguration. At first glance, it might seem an odd selection for Lent: why not a Gospel on healing or mercy? But
this is no arbitrary choice; it is chosen to encourage and
strengthen us as we undertake our Lenten practices, and
to remind us that through them we hope to share in the
glory of God, glimpsed here in Christ on the mountaintop.
Lenten practices by themselves are meaningless if they do
not have this greater meaning; indeed the whole Lenten
season is without purpose if it does not ultimately lead to
the glory of Easter.
Luke’s account follows the other synoptic Gospels: Jesus
leads his disciples up the mountain to pray. Suddenly, they
are witnesses to something new as the glory of God shines
through his humanity, and the prophets Moses and Elijah
appear in conversation with him. These, too, were mountain
men who in times of struggle sought solace in the high
peaks. There they encountered God and were renewed and
strengthened in their mission.
Glimpsing Jesus’ glory, Peter begins to panic, and as so
often happens in the face of what is new and unsettling, he
falls back onto what is familiar and less threatening. His
suggestion for three tents shows how much he has yet to
learn about Jesus.
But from the cloud that covers the mountain comes the Father’s voice: This is my chosen Son, listen to him. Here is
the true purpose of this theophany, this “God-reveal”: Jesus
is more than just another prophet, he is God’s chosen Son.
Here are words that all must hear and accept if they are to
be transformed and changed.
In the darkness of our sometimes sinful world, we need to
hear these words again. We, too, must be willing to climb
the mountain and to experience the glory of God. We need
to hear again the words of the Father as Jesus is revealed
as the one who speaks on his behalf and is worthy of our
attention and obedience.
This Lent ought to signal a transfiguration in our hearts and
communities. For as Peter said, it is good that we are here,
it is indeed good that we are here today, for it is only when
we are present to the Lord that we can be open to his word
and to the glory he desires to share with us.
Stations of the Cross –
From the early beginning of the Church people would travel
to Jerusalem and other places associated with our Lord’s
Passion. Upon their visit they would trace the path Christ
took. Through the years it has become a popular devotion
to “walk the Passion with Christ.” Along the journey people would stop at places of significance and offer prayers
and take time for reflection.
The Devotion of the Stations of the Cross can be made at
any time and place. Often people will visit a church, chapel
or shrine and walk from station to station. This devotion
has particular meaning during this time of Lent as we anticipate the Lord’s Passion during Holy Week. The Passion
reminds us of not only Christ’s cross, but also our own
crosses in life. Often, we can have people in our lives that
help us like Mary and Veronica or there are others who
taunt and lead us down a wrong path. The passion reminds
us of the great pressure Jesus was under to “let the cup
pass”, but he followed the will of God and it is through His
resurrection we have HOPE.
In Churches across the world Stations of the Cross are celebrated to help us recall, to inspire us to keep up the good
fight of faith and to draw closer to Jesus through his Passion. During Lent we celebrate the Stations on Fridays also
at 6:30 p.m. Please join us as we walk the path of Christ’s
In both the Old and New Testaments, ashes are associated
with mourning and repentance. As Catholics, we begin the
Lenten season with Ash Wednesday. Following the proclamation of the Gospel and a homily is given, the priest blesses the ashes with Holy Water and offers a prayer.
The congregation comes forward like at communion time
and receives ashes upon their foreheads. Like a splash of
cold water on the face that awakens a person in the morning, ashes on the forehead are to awaken the recipient to the
beginning of a new season in the Church’s liturgical year.
The ashes are made from the palms that were used in the
previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration. We are called to
examine our lives and prepare for a new Easter.
When ashes are administered, two formulas can be used:
“Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel,” or
“Remember you are dust and to dust you will return.” This
is to remind us that with the fact that now is the time to act,
now is the time to “get things right” with God.
This year Ash Wednesday will be on March 6. Get your
foreheads ready and begin to examine your life. This day is
a day of fasting. We should curb our meals to one regular
meal and two smaller meals. There should be no eating between meals, and we should not eat meat on this day or on Fridays. This practice reminds us of the sacrifice Jesus made for us. It also helps us remain…yes in control of our desires. Fasting helps us with our free will and builds upon
our inner strength. This Lent all of you will be within my
prayers as you journey in faith. May this Lenten Season be
one that draws you closer to God and His Heavenly Kingdom.
This year Mass times for Ash Wednesday are 8:00 a.m. and
7:00 p.m. I look forward to seeing you there.
As Christians, we worship a God who loves us so much that
he became human for our sake and went the extra mile of
love, dying an excruciating and humiliating death on a
cross. Paul reassures us in the second reading that, as we are
human and in the likeness of Adam – complete with sin – so
we will also take on the likeness of Jesus, the heavenly one.
That’s a reassuring thought when we read the Gospel, in
which Jesus describes what he expects from those who follow him.
We are called to see with God’s eyes – to see our
enemies as brothers or sisters and to love them. We are to
return good to those who mistreat us.
In the first reading, we get a glimpse of God’s ability to
transform people. David, even though he knows that Saul
plans to kill him, spares Saul when he has the chance to do
harm instead. His reverence for God’s anointing of Saul is
what stays his hand. David chooses the higher ground that,
centuries later, would be taught by his descendant and Lord,
Often, we fall short of the standards Jesus set for us, but
other times we might come close, as David did in the first
reading. Could we take time out of a busy day to listen to a
friend who needs to talk, or give up a free day to volunteer
at a place of need? Do we call on reserves of patience to
listen quietly when an angry friend or colleague complains
Because we are human, we might not live out these expectations
consistently, but if we stay close to Jesus in prayer,
we can trust that he is transforming us, step by step, into his
image. As Lent approaches, take advantage of this special
season to spend more time with Jesus and more time serving others,
allowing him to transform you.
Don’t we all sometimes wonder when we see someone behave a certain way, “What, don’t they know that’s not
right?” Or, “Why didn’t they know better?” We witness so
many actions and decisions that are quite contrary to what
we expect of people, or that go against what we know to be
right and wrong.
The catechism tells us, “Every institution is inspired, at
least implicitly, by a vision of man and his destiny, from
which it derives the point of reference for its judgment, its
hierarchy of values, its line of conduct” (2244). There are
rules for living properly in the world. We have federal laws
and state regulations. But these are external rules. These
rules do not form us. They can show some things, but it is
from God that we properly learn how to act in the world.
God’s instructions show us how we can be our best selves.
How does God guide us? Listen to the words of Jesus in
the Gospel reading from Luke today. This is a great place
The beatitudes are the heart of Jesus’ preaching. They tell
us to love our enemies and love our neighbor. At the core of
the sermon is Jesus’ teaching on love. This love is characterized by forgiveness and generosity. These are characteristic of the Christian life. They offer us hope in the midst of
trials and tests. And they show us what is already ours by
virtue of our salvation through Christ. They help us to see
the fullness of our lives as God designs it. According to the
catechism, “The Beatitudes respond to the natural desire for
happiness. This desire is of divine origin: God has placed it
in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who
alone can fulfill it” (1718).
Just as there are consequences to disobeying rules and laws
in our society, so, too, there are negative repercussions from
straying from God’s vision of human happiness. Unlike
Matthew’s Gospel, Luke gives four “woes” after his description of the beatitudes. These woes are reminiscent of
the cries of impending distress used by the Old Testament
prophets. Luke depicts Jesus as fulfilling the same prophetic
role to warn that disaster comes upon those whose worldly
comfort and prosperity has turned them away from God and
fidelity to the demands of his covenant. The woes remind us
that satisfaction in worldly wealth and prestige can give us a
false sense of security and lead us to overlook our radical
dependence on God’s mercy.
Today, let us heed God’s warnings about the dangers of a
life lived apart from his grace, and follow the path of blessing and human flourishing he has chartered for us in the