1st Sunday in Lent

Dear People of God,

We are a little early for Spring time weather and flower blossoms, but Lent takes us to Easter, and Easter is spiritual Spring time for our inner and outer beings. Even during the coldest weather, shrubs and trees are growing their roots deeper, getting ready for a new season of growth. We do not see any changes above ground, but the plant is busy preparing nonetheless. During Lent we can be busy preparing quietly for Easter by taking up activities we do not do the rest of the year.

Jesus fasted. He tells the Pharisees that after he is taken away from the Apostles (after his death), his followers will fast. As I read the lives of the saints, the ones for whom we have details of their lives, the ones who worked miracles like Jesus, they fast. Why? Someone who fasts for love of Jesus, truly loves Jesus. Jesus’ heart is inclined to respond to the person who loves enough to fast for Him. When parents are worried about their children, I suggest they fast, as well as pray. It seems to me that I receive more miraculous attention from Jesus when I fast.

Most of us cannot do a biblical, total abstinence fast like Jesus in the Gospels. We can fast, or discipline our appetites in various ways. When I had a serious prayer intention, I avoided meat on Wednesdays (outside of Lent). Perhaps we could avoid sweets, even for just one meal. I will drink tea, instead of coffee (which I prefer). For us men, we can eat the vegetables which most of us avoid any other time. I nibble all day long unless prevented by work or prayer intentions. For one Lenten day I may restrict myself to eat only at a sitdown meal; I may drink water, but no coffee with the meal. If someone gives me a sweet treat, I may delay eating it today, to eat it tomorrow, just to see if I can control myself that much. All these disciplines can be good for us. I am so much more grateful for food, after Lent! With all the hungry people in the world, thank you Lord Jesus for the food we have today!

We are all invited, and I hope to see you at Immaculate Conception Church parish hall, 4-7 pm, for the Friday fish fry (every Friday during Lent). The hall is the big building down the street with the apartments, with the double doors.

Let us prepare for a beautiful Spring time and a holy, happy Easter.

Fr. John-Paul