Well Lent has begun! A time for us to look at the final months of Jesus’ life and compare them to our own. Are our eye’s wide open or is it business as usual? Is our heart more willing to be led by the Holy Spirit, or is it the same as it was February 16th. How is it starting out? The journey continues into this 2nd Sunday of Lent as we hear in Genesis about Abraham being told to offer a holocaust of his only son. Not understanding why or even asking, he begins the preparation, only to be stopped before using the knife. His full trust was tested, and he passes.
I’ve been focusing a lot of my own prayer on what I’ve missed that the Lord has called me to. I have to say I’m not very impressed with myself. I gave up soda (which is my preferred drink at all meals) along with fasting more often. Friday when I stopped to pick up a burger, out of habit I ordered my diet coke. After eating, I realized what I had done, ugggg. Spiritually I’ve committed to reading all the Prophetic books in the bible as a study. But what I’m working on the most is not missing out on all the opportunities presented before me each day. Oh boy is this hard! For example, the man in front of me is 53 cents short for his meal at Arby’s. I hear this and look in my wallet but don’t have any cash. The man changes his order and he now has enough. Why didn’t I just add his meal to mine? I’m walking into school and I’m in a hurry, I see students getting out of their car. Instead of waiting for them so they don’t have to buzz the office to be let in, I rush to my office, letting the secured door shut behind me. Why didn’t I just wait? First in holding the door and second to make that personal connection. I had a little “pity party of one” on Ash Wednesday with being consumed with three Masses. I use the excuse that it’s been a long day and decline a dinner offer. Why didn’t I just go? Maybe they needed me more than I needed them?
Missed opportunities. I hear this most often from family members when someone passes away. Things like: I wish I was there. I wish I had said I loved you one more time. I wish I had been a better sister/ brother/ son/daughter to them. The list goes on and on. If only...
When I formed my “wish list for lent”, I did it knowing that when I mess up I start up again right away. I don’t intend to mess up, it just happens. But it is in forming that conscious plan of change, that allows us each to see that when we mess up, we are more aware of it the next time, and the time after that, and the time after that. Eventually we catch ourselves before we make the same mistake, and that’s why sticking with it makes it so important. We make ourselves more aware and therefore are open to the change that follows.
It all starts with wanting that change. I was talking with a friend and Lent came up. Through the conversation I asked how his Lent was going. “Same as the rest of the year” was his reply. Which I then said “well, that shouldn’t be the case, a journey involves sacrifice, and shouldn’t look like every other day”. To which the conversation quickly changed to another topic. Apparently change was not desired.
My friends, my prayer for each of you is that “the same” isn’t in your Lenten vocabulary. May you come closer to our Lord as you journey through the desert with him. May you see what Christ is asking and respond with a trusting heart. Your seed has been planted at baptism, now allow it to grow! Be fruitful!
Have a blessed week, and if things don’t go as planned, begin again the next day!
Our journey over the next forty days has begun! The scuttle of thinking up something to give up is done (or should be). The Ashes have washed away from Wednesday and we are well on our way.
What way is that exactly? Abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays? Budgeting a little extra for Alms giving? Giving up sweets or coffee or alcohol? Dedicating ten minutes a day to solid prayer?
If any of these come easy for you and do not cause you to feel the discomfort or pain of doing them, then I would have to say it’s not enough! Now before you rip this up and say who is he to tell me that, please continue to read on.
As Jesus journeyed those forty days he did it with a goal. A goal of uniting his heart, mind, and soul with that of our Father. He did it to test himself in a way we could not even imagine. He did it to prove to us that it can be done. Ultimately, he did it out of LOVE, both for the Father and for us.
When we are able to journey out for these forty days with that same understanding, it becomes evident that we should not be the same person we were when we began the journey. We end with a stronger relationship with our Savior, we end with a better understanding of ourselves, we end being united in His suffering...all done out of LOVE.
So let me ask again, what way is that exactly? Does it look more like; I am going to practice being more friendly to those I encounter throughout the day ending every encounter with “have a blessed day”. I am going to count to ten before I lash out at someone in anger. I am going to stop buying anything with sugar in it and the savings from it I’m going to give away. I am going to commit to reflecting on Matthew and John’s Gospels each and every day, taking one chapter a day. I am going to use my extra change and then add $10, $20 or $50 to it as my almsgiving.
My friends, suffering is what this season is about. Not in a depressed or brutal way, but in a giving way. This allows us time to think about what Jesus gave up during his forty days, how he grew in relationship with our Father, and what that growth prepared him for in the time to come.
That is the journey we are on. One unlike any other from years past. We recommit ourselves to not only doing more, but being more. Being that disciple we were baptized to be. Attending the weekly Stations of the Cross. Participating in our Bible Study: NO GREATER LOVE. Joining a new ministry within the Church. Volunteering at the Food Bank or at the St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen.
It’s not going to look the same for each of us, but to experience lent is to be involved with something outside of ourselves. When that happens, LOVE is present and change has begun. LOVE of self, LOVE of neighbor, LOVE of God.
Have a blessed first week of Lent, and may your faith drive you to be more than yesterday!
I hope this finds you all well during these cold, chilly days. It’s been a great time to be inside, without distraction, and have some time to think and meditate on the upcoming Lenten season. Some questions that have come to my mind are how is this Lenten Season going to be different from those of the past? What will I do to ensure this is a Holy Season, not just for myself but for others?
That may sound odd to some of you, coming from a priest. Most think that the preparation and the normal activities of the season will consume much of my time. But as we all journey to become closer to what God desires for each of us, I too look for ways for those mysteries to take root in my own life.
Fasting, almsgiving, and penance are the focus of Lent. Walking these forty days with Jesus as he did in the desert. Well that sounds easy enough, walking with Jesus allows us to understand him deeper, more intimately, and with greater devotion. But It also involves sacrifice. It involves hardship. It involves change from within for each of us. Now it sounds a little more involved! We actually need to participate in that journey of Jesus in the desert. We have to be a part of it.
As we end this liturgical season of Ordinary Time, we are presented with the story of the leper who sees Jesus for whom he truly is, a healer able to do anything outside of normal, everyday things. His faith allows him to ask Jesus “If you wish, you can me make me clean.” We are told Jesus takes pity on the man and says in reply “I do will it. Be made clean.” The unnamed man is immediately healed of his leprosy and goes off telling anyone who will listen what had happened, even after being told to “tell no one…” by Jesus.
I think I would have done exact same thing, even after being told to tell no one. Can you imagine something so life changing happening to you. A disease that completely changed your life and put you in total seclusion from family and anyone you may know. And now that has been lifted from you. You are a new person able to socialize with anyone who you wish. You have been literally touched by the healing hand of God.
That’s what Lent can do for each of us. Allow us to see a healing, that through the sacrifices we make this lent, can unite us to something so much bigger.
May you each have a blessed forty day journey that is like no other!
On a parish side-note: I am in the process of purchasing a presider chair and two side chairs for the sanctuary, with plans to move the current bench to where the servers are. If you have ever looked at church furniture, they are not cheap. If you would like to donate or sponsor one of the side chairs please contact the office or myself. The presider chair has been covered in memory of Bob Endreas. Your continued support is greatly appreciated!
Life can be unrewarding sometimes. We look at others and see only happiness and bliss, but if we truly knew what went on behind closed doors, we would think twice. We wonder why God would give us the life we have, not realizing that we aren’t truly following the plan that he has set out for us.
It’s very easy to see despair and not so easy to see that we are in control of much of what happens in our daily lives. Our daily decisions make all the difference in the world. For example, I get up in the morning and decide I don’t have time for my morning prayer, I’ll get to it after Mass. I have free will and that’s the decision I make. Only to find that after Mass a family has lost a loved one and I rush out to be with them. Before I know it, it’s 2 pm and time for mid-afternoon prayer. But now I’ve missed the things I hadn’t gotten to in the morning and jump right into preparing my homily, working on this article, getting petitions ready and returning calls that I missed. It’s now 6 pm and I have religious education. I have 30 minutes where I can now get in some prayer time, but instead, decide I’m going to eat something. After religious education I go to youth group and now it’s 9:15 and I’m back in the rectory. Finally I can “catch up” on my daily prayers. I sit down, open my morning prayer and read “I will be with you today as you journey in my name.” and realize I felt all alone as I walked with that family earlier. I had Jesus reaching out to me and instead decided I could tackle the day myself. I finish morning prayer and move on to mid-day prayer. “Rest in me and you will be comforted. Seek me and you will find me.” Again, Jesus reaching out and I missed it. I’ve got this, what’s next I said to my-self. Then I get to evening prayer, “ the day is long, the forces fight against you, your brothers torment you and go against you, but I am your shelter, your refuge, you shall not undergo torment or pain for I am your God, your protector.”
When we turn to scripture, prayer, or adoration, we rest our hurts and pain with God. We take comfort in Him being in control and look at the missed opportunities he presented to us each and every day. That opportunity is being united to God and allowing him to guide our day. To speak to us as we place our trust in Him.
Most of us know the story of Job to some degree. The story is presented as God using Job to try to prove to Satan that people can act from a pure heart. God “lets” Satan do all sorts of things to Job . . . some really bad stuff, with the one command that he cannot kill him. And as you can imagine . . . Job eventually comes to the end of his rope, so-to-speak. He reaches a kind of breaking point, be-coming exasperated and furious and bewildered as to why God seems to be deaf to his cries. I think we can all relate. Honestly . . . if the same things happened to me that happened to Job, I’d probably be feeling the exact same way. Or maybe even worse!
But that’s not the end of the story. The moment things begin to change for Job is the moment he embraces a particular truth, the moment he accepts something most of us are unwilling to accept. You see, Job eventually comes to realize that he will never be able to fully understand God’s ways. It’s just not possible. God is God and he is not. God is “in charge” and he is not. God made the heavens and the earth and he did not. God has wisdom and power and a sovereignty that he simply doesn’t have.
But God is always there to comfort and direct us through his Son, Jesus. Will we take the time to slow down or is it business as usual?
May each of you have a God guided week!
Tuesday - Friday: 8:00 AM
Saturday: 4:00 PM
Sunday: 8:00 AM & 10:00 AM
Saturday: 3:15 - 3:45 PM
Monday - Thursday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
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Welcome from Our Pastor
Welcome to Christ the King Catholic Church! Ever since 1938 this parish has been assisting souls in their quest for deeper union with God. Our mission statement is essentially found in the stained glass window above the main altar: “For Christ our King.” Insofar as God made us and we belong to Him, we have come to... Read More