Genesis 9:8-15|1 Peter 3:18-22|Mark 1:12-15
What's in a name? In Spanish, the name for the season of Lent is, prosaically enough, derived from the number forty – a period of forty days. In French and modern German the name of the season comes from the word for 'fasting' – what you do; Northern Europeans are ever pragmatic. In English, a surprising strain of poetry breaks through – our name for the season being derived from the season of the year, spring. Which last, as it happens, better captures the theological sense of the season, for Lent is a time of hope.
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Blessed Elisabetta Sanna (full name Elisabetta Sanna Porcu) (23 April 1788 – 17 February 1857) was an Italian Roman Catholic from Codrongianos Province of Sassari who was an active member of both the Secular Franciscan Order and the Union of the Catholic Apostolate. In the latter she was a friend and compatriot of Saint Vincenzo Pallotti. As a result of smallpox, Sanna was for the most part disabled and further ailments prevented her from returning to her hometown after departing on a pilgrimage; this forced her to take up residence in Rome where she later died.
Isaiah 58:9b-14; Luke 5:27-32
There he goes again, upsetting the order of things. Jesus had been very busy healing the sick, forgiving sins and irritating the Pharisees. They were the ones that were hung up on order and structure, particularly since they were the ones at the top of the order. When Jesus came along, they were no longer the ones at the center of attention---the ones to whom others looked to for guidance and authority. Now the ones at the center of attention were the sinners. . . . tax collectors and crooks, the very dregs of society. Jesus had just encountered Levi, known in the community as a despised tax collector. Those in that profession were known for their scandalous practices, extorting money from the poor, skimming off the top and giving the rest to the Romans. And to everyone’s amazement Jesus chose to go to dinner at Levi’s house. . . a party big enough that they were spread throughout the courtyard. It was a party of crooks and sinners, in plain view of everyone. The Pharisees, who had not been invited to the party, loitered around the periphery, complaining about Jesus eating and drinking with the dregs of society, the very ones they took great pains to stay away from.
Text by Rev. Daniel C. Kostakis; painted by Chris Gollon
First Station: Jesus is Condemned to the Cross
How many times do we condemn others because we refuse to see the mark of God found within each human being that walks this earth? How many times do we forget that we are truly one family on this earth? Our faith and belief must never become an instrument of bigotry allowing us to judge others, forgetting all of Creation is good.
“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7
God, help me to see you in all people, those I love and those I must learn to love. Amen.
Isaiah 58:1-9; Matthew 9:14-15
What a great reminder for the beginning of Lent. According to today’s first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah, there is a right way and a wrong way to fast. It’s a wonderful and challenging passage that has applications far beyond this one religious act (fasting). As Isaiah puts it here, the right way to fast is really a way to be genuinely religious and, for the Christian, adequately to imitate Christ.
First, how NOT to fast -- that would be to be so focused on ourselves that we can’t really see beyond ourselves. Isaiah’s words excoriate those who (allegedly) fast and yet “drive all your laborers,” and let their fasting end in “quarreling and fighting, striking with a wicked claw.”
Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Luke 9:22-25
“Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” -- Luke 9
In two paragraphs, today’s Gospel gives us a summary of the life of following Jesus. It will not always be easy and it requires living in a different way than others in the world.
Christian history is filled with people who sacrificed their lives for their faith, but for most of us, “losing our life” does not mean physical dying as we try to live out this life as followers of Jesus. The way most of us “lose our life” is much less dramatic, much less memorable, much more … everyday. How area we being asked to give ourselves away in the here and now?
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
FOR LENT 2018
“Because of the increase of inquity, the love of many will grow cold” (Mt 24:12)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Once again, the Pasch of the Lord draws near! In our preparation for Easter, God in his providence offers us each year the season of Lent as a “sacramental sign of our conversion”. Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life.
With this message, I would like again this year to help the entire Church experience this time of grace anew, with joy and in truth. I will take my cue from the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: “Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” (24:12).
▪ January has been a busy time with meetings and celebrations. In the beginning of the month the International Formation and OWL Commissions had their first meeting in the Generalate.
Joel 2:12-18; 2 Corinthians 5:20—6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Today begins the six week season of Lent. Ash Wednesday reminds us of the fragility of life and the fact that what we have now is not a permanent dwelling place (“Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return”). What might be understood Initially as an unwelcome reminder can be seen as a crucial and even joyous experience when we see how it fits into God’s plan for us.
“Do you still not understand?” Mark 8:21
In the gospel, Jesus scolds his disciples. They are with him every day. So much has happened to them already and still they still do not understand.
We are like that. Things happen all around us that we look past. We see in the same old ways; what is closest must struggle to dislodge our wooden habits of perception and awaken our hearts. Skipping over what is truly present, we ogle the spectacle. Without understanding, our lives slip away and what matters is forgotten.