February 21, 2021
Good people of I.C.,
On this first Sunday of Lent, we hear “Repent and believe in the gospel!”
That is what Jesus exhorts us to do in the gospel. That is the purpose of Lent.
Repent: turn ourselves around, turn ourselves not just AWAY from sin but turn TOWARD Jesus Christ.
Believe: trust God with both our mind and our heart. Live what we believe!
To do that better in this precious time of Lent, consider both a chosen penance, and what to do with unchosen ones.
First, go deep. Go beyond the casualness, compromises, neglect, indifference and laziness that accumulate, like plaque in an artery. Seek a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
We will not grow in any relationship if we are not attentive to it. Spend time with Christ in prayer & in the scriptures. Pray for people in your daily life, and beyond. Perhaps pick one person to pray for this day. Tomorrow add another. And then another. Develop a Lenten litany of prayer for others. Don’t limit yourself just to family and friends but also people you find it hard to pray for or who have some special need or responsibility.
Second, when it comes to Lent, we like to choose our own sacrifices, which leaves us in control.
In this long year of pandemic we have had many unexpected and involuntary sacrifices, losses, burdens.
Our Lenten penance this year might be to simply bring it all to the feet of Christ every day. Make a voluntary offering to Christ of the involuntary penances and sacrifices we have or have had this year. Make them a source of God’s grace for us.
So, think through both our chosen Lenten penance and our attitude toward our unchosen burdens.
Have a blessed Lenten journey.
PS: I remind you that Sat. 5pm Mass and 9am & 10:30am Masses are open seating and so masks must be worn throughout Mass. This is to accommodate the good growing attendance at our Masses and to continue to provide safety for all.
Fr. Don, Pastor
February 14, 2021
Self-surrender, not giving up.
It’s not being out of control.
It’s not a loss of virtue or identity.
It’s an act of trust, and act of love, a gift, a commitment. It’s a new freedom.
The Gospel’s story of a leper shows the power of self-surrender: healing, hope, freedom.
The first reading outlines the procedures to prevent the severe and highly contagious spread of leprosy, a skin disease understood to be a great danger to his family, friends and his community. He was considered contagious and a walking dead man. He was ruthlessly cut off.
Total miserable isolation and rejection. He was forced to yell “unclean” to warn people away and wear dirty torn ragged clothes to express his condition.
He could quickly grow bitter or sink into despair.
Instead, he came to Jesus bringing himself, his misery, his fear, his loneliness, risking the wrath of everyone.
And Jesus reached out and touches him!
Jesus receives the leper’s gift of himself. Jesus receives his self-surrender.
And so Jesus can reach deep and transform and heal his heart.
And so he can do for us.
Come to Jesus with the hurts of our body and soul.
Hold back nothing.
Fr. Don, Pastor
February 7, 2021
As Church and as individuals we are called to join in God’s healing of the world.
We are called to be wounded healers.
We are called to work with the wounded and be there as a source of hope.
We are called to be the hands and heart of Christ to a wounded world so much in need of him.
In the first reading we hear of the anguish of Job and are reminded of the depth of suffering in the people and world around us and perhaps of our own.
In the second reading we hear of St. Paul’s commitment to “become all things to all”. In other words, to walk alongside all kinds of people with all kinds of hurts, inside and out, physically, emotionally, mentally. We do not hide or shy away from broken hearts, those of others or of our own.
In the gospel, Jesus brings healing and hope to the community around Capernaum. In particular, he heals Peter’s mother-in-law, freeing her to serve Jesus and others, being a model for all other disciples.
Jesus then and now raises up persons and communities, healing them of illness, sadness of sin.
Come to Jesus Christ. Pour all out before him. Then join in the healing work of Jesus.
The Church has designated this weekend to honor and pray for Consecrated Religious, consecrated by their vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. They are such a powerful “sign of contradiction” to a world that embraces sexual promiscuity, material comfort and relativism.
Saint books are full of stories of courageous Sisters and Brothers, who have generously and courageously stood up to be counted for the needs of God’s people and his Church.
Think of all who have had a personal impact on your own life. In gratitude for their sacrifice and generosity, include them in your prayers today.
Especially remember all members of the Incarnate Word Sisters, living and deceased, who have served Immaculate Conception so well from its beginning.
Fr. Don, Pastor