Traditionally on this First Sunday of Lent, we hear the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert. St. Matthew’s version today draws parallels between events in the life of Jesus and events in the Old Testament. He says that Jesus spent forty days and forty nights in the wilderness. The Jewish community at the time would have heard this event in relation to the forty‐year desert experience of Moses and the Israelites told in the Books of Exodus and Numbers. The difference is that ancient Israel failed in the desert, but Jesus was victorious! Each one of us has been disobedient to God and each of us has desert experiences on our journey with God. But if we face the temptations of daily life, making choices that are consistent with the love of God and love of neighbor, our faithful obedience will lead us to new life.
Today at the 8:00 a.m. Mass, we will send our catechumens and candidates for full communion with the Catholic Church to the Bishop to participate in the Rite of Election, which we will celebrate with the children at the 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon Masses. In this welcoming liturgy, the Church makes its “election”, that is the choice and admission of those catechumens and candidates to the Elect of God as they move ever closer to the Easter sacraments and initiation into the Catholic Christian community. Let us continue to surround these “elect” with prayer, so that they may more fully meet Christ in their daily lives!
I invite us all to use this beautiful season of Lent wisely— and most especially to acknowledge our need for the compassion and mercy of our all-good God. You are particularly invited to our celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation on March 11th. A number of priests, English and Spanish speaking, will be available for this sacrament of inner healing. Please see the bulletin for details.
Almsgiving is one of the major Lenten practices. As a community of faith, our parish will participate together in the Catholic Relief Rice Bowl Project. You may pick up your “rice bowl” after Mass today and fill it up during Lent with money that you save from sharing some simple and sacrificial meals mindful of those who are hungry throughout the world. Please return your rice bowls on the Fifth Sunday of Lent. Thank you! Have a good Lent!
Love, Fr. Vince