08 Mar 1st Sunday of Lent
1st Sunday of Lent
Dear Friends and Family of OLPH,
Remember the days when we thought we would know it all when we received our diploma and even advanced
degrees. No more exams – no more studies; how quickly that illusion was dispelled. We learned quickly that the classroom experience never really ends. There are always more lessons to be learned, subject matter to be studied and tests to be taken.
The test we face every day is our willpower. How strong is our will when it comes to doing what needs to be done? During this Lent we have many opportunities to test that willpower. Let’s say we decide to fast from something. How long is it before we are tempted repeatedly? Why is it that we always want what we do not have? I will never forget my father in “the old days” when every Friday was a day of abstinence. From midnight Thursday to midnight Friday he was starving for meat. Since he claimed to hate fish we had many Fridays with Mac and Cheese. One month after the abstinence ruling was switched to Fridays of Lent only, he was caught ordering fish at a restaurant. It is always a matter of my will against the will of another. The test isn’t just a matter of fasting. It can center on praying and giving alms. We want to pray more and give more of ourselves to those in need but we become so easily distracted and fail.
For most of us, the biggest test of willpower involves the battle between our will and God’s will. Are we strong enough to surrender our will to God’s will? Can we make Jesus’ words our words? ”Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). In the Lord’s Prayer, which we pray daily, Jesus says “Your will be done” (Mt 6:10). The life of a disciple is meant to be one lived in total surrender to God’s will. Such a lifestyle is challenging, especially when it conflicts with our own will. Jesus resigns Himself to the Father’s will even to the point of death on a cross.
Last Sunday I spoke of the early Church that focused more on the joyful preparation for Easter and less on the penitential aspect of Lent. Recognizing that the primary purpose of Lent is to joyfully prepare for Easter, let us once again turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. Whatever we choose to do for Lent let it be with a joyful heart and mind! Let us focus on God’s great love and mercy for everything and everyone He created.
Today we will send our RCIA Candidates to Golden Hall where they will join thousands in the Rite of Election. May God bless them with a firm heart and steadfast spirit! May we all have the desire and strong will to support them by our own example of steadfast faith! May God bless, preserve and keep you!