This Wednesday, we begin the Season of Lent, so I ask you to check the Reminder/Bulletin for the mass schedule on Ash Wednesday. Also, there will be a time change for the weekday Masses. At Saint Bernard daily Mass will be celebrated Monday through Friday at 12:10 p.m. in the church; there will not be an 8 a.m. Mass in the Divine Mercy Chapel during Lent. The Saint Francis daily Mass schedule will be Monday through Saturday at 9 a.m.
Stations of the Cross at Saint Francis will be celebrated on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and at Saint Bernard on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. followed by confessions. These will begin Wednesday March 4th.
The readings for today seem to prepare us for the season of Lent. Lent is much more than giving up something and then getting it back as soon as Easter arrives. Lent is about “soul searching”. Lent is about asking ourselves: “Am I truly reflecting Christ in my daily life, do I live out the famous question what would Jesus do?”
Now let us examine today’s readings for direction in making a better Lent. From the Book of Leviticus, we hear these words: “You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
From Paul’s letter we hear these words: “…let him become a fool, so as to become wise. For the wisdom of the world is foolishness in the eyes of God.”
The Gospel of Saint Matthew is so packed with the wisdom of Jesus, it is as if He is telling His disciples how they should live and likewise how we are to live. But I want to pull one phrase from the many: “You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father.” Following Jesus is more than “lip service” – it is about being less centered on me and more on God and how we live out that relationship with Him and with one another.
Jesus, in the conclusion of today’s Gospel, give us that perplexing challenge: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” So, what then is Jesus telling us? He knows that we cannot achieve the perfection of His Heavenly Father, but we have to strive for perfection even though we may stumble along the way. God’s own perfection should be a model by which every Christian tries to follow even though he/she realizes that there is an infinite distance between himself/herself and his/her Creator. What I have learned in my own faith journey is that perfection is not the absence of faults, but that God is in charge. I learn from my faults so that I can do better with the grace that God gives me. Let this Lenten season truly transform you into the person of faith that you want to become.