3rd Sunday of Lent

March 24, 2019

Today we celebrate the 3rd Sunday of Lent. As the journey continues, we are challenged to look at our vision; how we see things. We all operate from a basic view of life. The way we view God, others, and life guides most of our actions. Lent calls us back to a vision of justice, peace, mercy, and joy. So, how do you view God? Is He one who seeks us with open arms or One who waits to catch us in sin? How do you see humanity? Are we beings capable of good and change or beings “stuck” in evil. Even when evidence seems to reinforce it, I believe people are capable of change for the good. I also believe the God that Jesus and the Scriptures reveal is a loving parent who seeks us with open arms, inviting us to jump into them. In our readings this weekend God tells Moses, “I have come down to rescue my people from the hands of the Egyptians and lead them out of that land.” God wants to save us. Moses has fled Egypt after he killed one of the Israelites. He was a sinner, yet God chose him, evidence that God sees humanity as capable of change. The parable of the fig tree pictures a positive picture of God and humanity. God listens to the gardener, often identified with Jesus, and leaves the tree for Him to work with. Jesus’ care can help anyone bear fruit. All people can change and do good. How we view God and others makes a big difference. Moses, the Israelites, Jesus, and the early Church at Corinth offer us positive pictures of our God. God is gracious and merciful. This Lent let the Divine Gardener cultivate, fertilize, and prune you through the disciplines of prayer, fasting, a good celebration of Reconciliation, and the scriptures. Listen for Him this Lent. Then run into His open arms.

Today I am with the 22 pilgrims who are accompanying me on the Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. (On Saturday we will finish our stay in Jerusalem after Mass at St. Peter in Gallicantu, the place where Peter denied Jesus three times, and a visit to the Upper Room, site of the Last Supper.) On Sunday we will have Mass in the chapel of our hotel and then head off for Galilee heading for Bethany, home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Thank you for your prayers this past week. We are praying for all of you at every site we visit. We arrive home on Thursday, March 28th after a long day in the air. Looking forward to sharing the experience with you.

Lent continues to invite us to a journey of repentance. I hope you are sticking with the resolutions you made. Just two and a half weeks in, and about three to go, the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are spiritual ways to allow this time to bear fruit in our souls. Once again, I thank you for your generosity to the poor each weekend in our campaign for our St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry. Our cross is already surrounded with canned goods, food, and other supplies needed. Thank you.

This Lent, the Churches of Richmond Heights are conducting a series of “Unity in Community Lenten Services” at various Churches. Each Wednesday there is a service at a different Church at 12:00pm, followed by a light luncheon. This week the service will be at St. Mary’s Hospital Chapel, led by Chaplain Elisha Donaldson. All parishioners are invited.

Finally today, another reminder of the many opportunities for you to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Lent. In addition to our regularly scheduled time (Sat. 4:15 – 4:45pm), the Oratory has several additional times for confession. On April 13th, Monsignor Morris and I will have a three-hour period of confessions from 9:00am to Noon. Plan on making a good confession this Lent a top priority for your preparation for Easter.

God Bless. Make it a great Lent.

Remember those 3 Hail Marys

(Fr. Pete)