To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from Ash Wednesday: CLICK HERE!
Ash Wednesday is February 17, 2021. Ashes will be distributed at the following times:
10:00 am – Mass with Distribution of Ashes *Livestreamed
12:00 pm – “Walk-Thru” Ashes *Arrive at church at 12:00 pm and you will be ushered to either Fr. Joe or Deacon Andy to receive ashes.
5:30 pm – “Walk-Thru” Ashes *Arrive at church at 5:30 pm and you will be ushered to either Fr. Joe or Deacon Andy to receive ashes.
Many of us remember or maybe heard about Lent in the past. Adults fasted every day of Lent. One full meal and the other two could not equal a full meal. People made personal sacrifices; giving up smoking, candy, alcohol, or something they really liked. And people when to Church more often, not just Sunday Mass, but for Stations of the Cross, Daily Mass, or a Lenten Retreat.
Today, many people feel Lent is much easier. Encouragement is given to do positive things during Lent; many people do not give up much anymore. In fact life for many people during Lent is not much different than any other time of the year.
But if you think about it, maybe Lent is asking more of us today. Lent is asking us to accept adult responsibility for our own spiritual growth, our own spiritual journey.
For instance, when it comes to giving up something, maybe the giving up is meant to be more than candy or smoking… Just maybe we are called to give up whatever keeps us from being closer to Jesus Christ.
And whatever it is that we give up or do – it is meant to continue beyond Lent.
The Second Vatican Council of the 1960’s decided to take a risk and to risk treating us as adults.
Hopefully Lent will be for us a time to change our lives and for us to become more Christ like. As we come forward today and receive Ashes, may this ritual be a sign of a true commitment to take Lent seriously and allow the grace of God to truly change us In the next 40 days.
As we grow in wisdom and grace… as the Lenten Season approaches we begin to consider not what we will be “giving up” for Lent, rather we begin to consider how we can seize the opportunity to be all that God has called us to be. A holy, healthy and loving person… a Disciple of Jesus committed to transforming our faith into real-life action.
So this Lent maybe we need to consider 5 things not to do this Lent:
1. DO NOT GIVE UP. Instead of giving up something for Lent, try doing something that will bring you closer to God.
- Attend Mass weekly and participate fully.
- Spend some time reflecting on the Sunday Readings.
- Make a donation to your favorite charity.
- Say a prayer for someone who is struggling.
- Read a book like “Resisting Happiness” this Lent.
2. DO NOT SWEAT IT. Whatever you commit to this Lent, give it your best. If you slip up… OK, start again. No one is perfect.
3. DO NOT STARVE YOURSELF. Lent is not about going on a diet or losing weight. Lent is about the conversion of hearts. Our hearts.
4. DO NOT MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT THAN IT IS. The three pillars of Lent are: PRAYER, FASTING, and ALMSGIVING. Find simple ways to pray, fast and give to the poor.
5. DO NOT HOLD BACK. Lent will present us with many opportunities to:
- Convert our hearts and our lives
- Heal broken relationships
- Grow closer to God.
When we find ourselves presented with such opportunities; embrace it.
May the Ashes we receive today, be a reminder to LIVE LENT, so we can live a more authentic faith long after Lent has ended.
An Irishman moves into a tiny hamlet in County Kerry, walks into the pub and promptly orders three beers. The bartender raises his eyebrows, but serves the an three beers, which he drinks quietly at a table, alone.
An hour later, the man has finished the three beers and orders three more.
This happens yet again. The next evening, the man again orders and drinks three beers at a time, several times. soon the entire town is whispering about The Man Who Orders Three Beers.
Finally, a week later, the bartender broaches the subject on behalf of the town. “I don’t mean to pry, but folks around here are wondering why you always order three beers.”
“Tis odd, isn’t it?” the man replies. “You see, I have two brothers, and one went to America, and the other to Australia. We promised each other that we would always order an extra two beers whenever we drank as a way of keeping up the family bond.”
The bartender and the whole town were pleased with this answer, and soon The Man Who Orders Three Beers became a local celebrity and source of pride to the hamlet, even to the extent that out-of-towners would come to watch him drink.
Then, one day, the man comes in and orders only two beers. The bartender pours them with a heavy heart. This continues for the rest of the evening.
He orders only two beers… The word flies around town. Prayers are offered for the soul of one of the brothers.
The next day, the bartender says to the man, “Folks around here, me first of all, want to offer condolences to you for the death of your brother. You know – the two beers and all.”
The man ponders this for a moment, then replies, “You’ll be happy to hear that my two brothers are alive and well. It’s just that I, meself, have decided to give up drinking for Lent.”
One might wonder if The Man Who Orders Three Beers is heeding the exhortation of the Prophet Joel, “Return to me with your whole heart.”
Lent is 40 days, but a change of heart is meant to be for a lifetime.
May these 40 days of Lent 2016 lead us closer and closer to the lifetime of ongoing and increasing love of God, love of others and being faithful disciples.
Join us for any one of the following Ash Wednesday liturgies:
9:00 am – Mass with ashes at St. Mary’s Church, Crescent
12:00 pm – Mass with ashes at Corpus Christi Church, Round Lake
4:30 pm – Service with ashes at St. Mary’s Church, Crescent
6:30 pm – Service with ashes at both St. Mary’s Church, Crescent and Corpus Christi Church, Round Lake
Scriptures: Joel 2:12-18; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matthew 6: 1-6; 16-18
It is probably human nature, but we often grow comfortable with our varied routines of life. Many routines are necessary for order, sanity, life.
Yet, Lent asks us to take a look at our lives, our routines.
Lent and especially the three pillars of Lent: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving are disciplines meant to:
+ bring us closer to God and one another
+ bring us to the “next level” of faithfulness in living our Baptismal Call to: love God, love others and be faithful disciples.
As I shared last Sunday at Mass: “If someone followed us around for a day, a week, a month – would they know we are Christian, would they know we are Catholic?”
This Lent, may these 40 days, guide us to be and to be seen as Christ’s faithful disciples; growing in faithfulness to love God and to love others.
Scriptures: Joel 2:12-18; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Today, Ash Wednesday, begins our Lenten journey of penance, prayer and conversion in preparation for the Church’s annual celebration of the saving mysteries of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.
In these days, the Church asks us to ponder with joy and gratitude God’s immense love revealed in the paschal mystery and to live ever more fully the new life we have received in Baptism.
This journey of spiritual renewal in the footsteps of Christ also calls us to acknowledge and respond to the growing spiritual and material poverty in our midst. Specifically, it means consciously resisting the pressure of a culture which thinks it can do without God, where parents no longer teach their children to pray, where violence, poverty and social decay are taken for granted.
May this Lent, then, be a time when, as individuals and communities, we heed the words of the Gospel, reflect on the mysteries of our faith, practice acts of penance and charity, and open our hearts ever more fully to God’s grace and to the needs of our brothers and sisters.