Parish of St. John the Apostle
Dear Parish Family and Friends,
Ash Wednesday is February 14th and we will begin our forty days of prayer, fasting and simplifying our lives to prepare for the Paschal Feast (Easter) In the Holy Scripture, the number 40 occurs frequently, as if it has a mysterious significance. So it is not unusual to find events lasting for 40 days. The Gospel for the first Sunday in Lent tells us that after Jesus’ baptism he went on a forty day journey into the wilderness to prepare for His ministry.
Today the Church knows Lent as forty days of prayer and fasting. This time is not meant to make us weak. No, it is a time when like Jesus, we acquire the strength to reject the temptations of Satan, the Devil. Satan will try to discourage us from listening to the Word of God. He tried to lure Jesus away from His destiny of the cross by trying to get Him to perform showy miracles and promising Him earthly power. Jesus dismissed the Devil without hesitation, giving Himself to the mystery of saving the world by dying on the cross.
On our Lenten journey to the cross, our commitment to resist temptation is renewed by the example of Jesus, and we are aided by His grace. During Lent we commit ourselves to being His disciples by carrying the cross after him. In this way, we become his true friends. The path that takes us to Easter is marked by encounters with Jesus. Jesus often uses images to speak to us hoping that we will open our hearts to receive the true meaning behind His words such as “Living Waters” and “Light of the World”
When we received the Holy Spirit at our baptism we became Christians. In the holy time of Lent, we ask for a new giving of the Holy Spirit so that our faith and baptismal innocence can be renewed. We ask that our thirsty hearts be quenched by the Living Waters which only Jesus can provide. He is the Light of the World, for a man who is born blind, Jesus miraculously opens the eyes of his body. But that action was a sign pointing to an even more wonderful miracle, how Jesus gives the light of faith to the eyes of our souls, that as Christian our faith will help us see everything in the light of Jesus.
But Lent is also the time of penance and forgiveness. The light which Jesus gives us should shine bright during the time of Lent so that every corner of our conscience will reveal all our hidden sins. This is necessary so that we can confess our sins with a sincere and penitent heart to the mercy of Christ, which is the most precious and necessary grace that we receive in the Church. As Christians we have a lot going on in these 40 days but we can accomplish everything that we put our strength and prayers to because we know that nothing is impossible with God especially for those who truly love Him.
Have a Blessed Lent. See you on Sunday at Mass.