In our reading from the Book of Leviticus today, God says: “Be holy, for I the Lord, your God, am holy.” If we were asked, every one of us could name someone who is holy. Maybe we think of one of the saints like Mother Teresa, or one of the martyrs who gave their very life for Christ, or St. Joseph and St. Francis and certainly the Blessed Mother. Or perhaps we can think of a living person whom we admire especially if they have undergone lots of trials in their lives and given a beautiful example of faith. We know a holy person when we see one. In other words, we are called to behave like God who is Love. That means that we have no room or tolerance in our hearts for hatred, bitterness, vengeance, and exclusivity. In his sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives us the blueprint for living the Law of Love. “Be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” We pray today that in this Eucharist we will embrace the call to holiness with all our hearts!
This coming week we celebrate Ash Wednesday and the beginning of our Lenten journey. Please see the bulletin for the full schedule of liturgies. Ash Wednesday is a Day of Fasting and Abstinence from meat. As we begin this holy season, our fasting is an aid to concentration in prayer and a help in refocusing our attention on God. Fasting is also an important way for us to recall all those who do not have enough to eat and our call to give what we can to help the hungry. Let us Fast then with the right spirit and with an open heart.
As you can see the church has been rearranged in such a way to gather people around the Altar of the Word and the Altar of Eucharist. I believe this new seating and placement of the altar and ambo will enable us to more actively take part in the Liturgy. The Bishops Committee on Sacred art and Environment teach that there are elements in the Sacred Space which contribute to the overall experience of the liturgical Rites. Concerning the liturgical environment, they say it is appropriate when it “brings people close together so that they can see and hear the entire liturgical action, when it helps people feel involved and become involved. Such an environment works with the Liturgy, not against it!” (#24, Environment and Art in Catholic Worship) We will continue to enhance the beauty of our sacred space.
Finally, I can only say how humbled I am by all of your love and support as I begin to transition to a new assignment this summer. All I can say is thank you so very much. You will always be near to me in my thoughts, in my prayers and in my heart. Love you all! As ever, — Fr. Vince