From the Pastor

We just began the holy season of Lent. Lent is primarily a time of intense spiritual preparation for conquering our temptations using the same method Jesus used during his forty days in the desert   preparing for public life. It is also a time to renew our lives for the celebration of Easter with our Risen Lord who conquered sin and death by His suffering, death and Resurrection. Lent gives us a perfect opportunity to honestly assess our spiritual life and our relationship with Christ. The primary way to build our relationship with Christ is through prayer.

The readings this week explain that, although we are often tempted by the devil, the world and our own selfish interests, we need to cooperate actively with God’s grace to conquer our temptations through prayer. The first reading tells us how God’s people broke the original covenant God had made with Adam and Eve, and how merciful God chose to save Noah and his family as a means of renewing that covenant. Noah’s rescue from the flood symbolizes how we are saved through the water of Baptism which cleanses us of sin and makes us one with Christ.

The second reading was addressed to the persecuted Christians and was intended to bolster their Faith. Peter reminds us all of our place in the larger history of God’s providence in order to help us see our present sufferings in a larger context. He says that Baptism is an outward sign of the Covenant that God made with His people through His Son, Jesus. Baptism not only removes Original Sin but also is our birth into Christ—we become adopted children of God, heirs of heaven, and temples of the Holy Spirit. Peter connects the waters of Baptism with the waters of the flood that destroyed almost everyone and everything except Noah and his family. The waters of Baptism, on the other hand, cleanses and saves us all.

The Gospel teaches us that the “desert experience” of fasting, praying, and soul-strengthening enabled Jesus to confront his temptations successfully and then to preach the Good News of Salvation. The tempter urged Jesus to turn stones into loaves of bread. But Jesus rejected the temptation to reduce his Divine mission to satisfying his own immediate, temporal needs. The tempter then suggested that Jesus prove that He was truly the Son of God by jumping off the parapet of the temple. Jesus rejected this temptation to test God. Finally, Jesus rejected the temptation of idolatry, even with the knowledge that worship would enrich and empower Him with all kingdoms of the world.

No one is free from temptation. We are all tempted, at some time or another, to seek sinful pleasures, easy wealth or a position of authority, power or glory, and to use any means, even unjust or sinful ones, to gain these things. Jesus serves as a model for us in conquering temptations by showing how He strengthened Himself through prayer, penance, and close communion with His Heavenly Father. Therefore, during this Lenten season, let us confront our evil tendencies with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—the three pillars of Lent—and grow closer in communion with God.

We have several programs planned during Lent throughout the parish, which will hopefully assist you in your goal of growing closer to God. This week we have confession, adoration and Benediction on Wednesday from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Stations of the Cross on Friday at 6:00 pm, followed by a Bible study conducted by Deacon Vince, which will focus on the Sunday readings. This Bible study is a great opportunity to read, reflect, and pray over the upcoming Sunday readings. For information on these and other programs during Lent, I encourage you to read the bulletin, refer to the flyer that we mailed to you a few days ago or call the parish office.

The reflection question for the first week of Lent is to ask God, “How do you want to make me more like You?” Mark your calendar to spend fifteen to twenty minutes every day this week in prayer, and incorporate this question into your daily prayer and reflection.  Use this opportunity to speak to God and commit to spending a little more time than usual in prayer this week.

No one is free from temptation. We are all tempted, at some time or another, to seek sinful pleasures, easy wealth or a position of authority, power or glory, and to use any means, even unjust or sinful ones, to gain these things. Jesus serves as a model for us in conquering temptations by showing how He strengthened Himself through prayer, penance, and close communion with His Heavenly Father. Therefore, during this Lenten season, let us confront our evil tendencies with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—the three pillars of Lent—and grow closer in communion with God.

We have several programs planned during Lent throughout the parish, which will hopefully assist you in your goal of growing closer to God. This week we have confession, adoration and Benediction on Wednesday from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Stations of the Cross on Friday at 6:00 pm, followed by a Bible study conducted by Deacon Vince, which will focus on the Sunday readings. This Bible study is a great opportunity to read, reflect, and pray over the upcoming Sunday readings. For information on these and other programs during Lent, I encourage you to read the bulletin, refer to the flyer that we mailed to you a few days ago or call the parish office.

The reflection question for the first week of Lent is to ask God, “How do you want to make me more like You?” Mark your calendar to spend fifteen to twenty minutes every day this week in prayer, and incorporate this question into your daily prayer and reflection.  Use this opportunity to speak to God and commit to spending a little more time than usual in prayer this week.

-Fr. Devdas