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3rd Sunday of Easter

April 15, 2018

Deacon Bill Hough


Our Scripture readings, especially during the Easter season, are meant to always remind us of the Paschal mystery – the life, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Today, by our celebration of the Mass we not only remember the life of Jesus, but we participate in His presence here and now in the Word and in the Eucharist.

Our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles takes place right after Peter has healed a crippled man at the entrance of the temple. Peter’s question to the observers is, “Why are you amazed at this?” He begins to explain that it is not through his own power that this man has been healed but the power of Jesus – the Savior and God of their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

And Jesus is still present and acting through the Apostles. Peter encourages them to be converted and repent so that their sins may be forgiven. Peter’s own life is a testimony to the love and forgiveness of God.

In our second reading from the first Letter of Saint John, we are reminded again of the mercy of God. Jesus is our Advocate who takes away the sins of the whole world. If we truly know Jesus, we will live in right relationship with Him. His love for us will be reflected in the way we show our love for others.

It doesn’t mean we won’t ever sin. But by sharing in God’s life, we will always try to follow His will. And His will is that we lead moral and ethical lives.

In our Gospel reading today, Jesus Himself gives testimony to the meaning of the Paschal mystery. The entire 24th chapter of the Gospel of Luke explains it all. It begins with the empty tomb. From there we see the appearance of Christ to the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Today, before He leaves to return to the Father, Jesus appears to His disciples who were startled and terrified (desconcertados y llenos de temor) and thought they were seeing a ghost (fantasma).

His question to them is like Peter’s question to the Jews in our first reading, “Why are you amazed?”. Jesus asks them, “Why are you troubled?”

Finally, when Jesus shows them the wounds on His hands and His feet and allows them to touch Him, they became overwhelmed with joy. Jesus is indeed alive. Everything that has been written about Him has been fulfilled.

Then Christ does three things that are very familiar to us today. First, He wants to share a meal with his disciples. Next, He opens their minds (les abrio le entendimiendo) to understand the Scriptures. Then, he gives them their mission to preach repentance, for the forgiveness of sins to all the nations.

As I said, we are not here just to remember Jesus. When we come to Mass, He becomes present to us today. Like the disciples, we hear His words in Scripture and He opens our minds to their meaning in our lives. We share a meal with Him in the Eucharist. We do more than touch Him – Christ becomes part of us.

Pope Francis states the Paschal mystery very simply. The Good News of Jesus is this:

Jesus Christ loves you; He gave His life to save you; and now He is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen, and free you.

What does He free us to do? Today Jesus gives us the same mission He gave to the disciples. Let us go out to all the nations and let them see the evidence of our love for God by the way we love each other.

2nd Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy)

April 8, 2018

Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi


In my Easter Sunday homily, I pointed out that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but fear. That’s right—faith’s opposite is fear, not doubt. We see that theme woven into the Gospel today

The basic fear is that this is all there is and that death is the end of everything. Other fears arise from this foundational fear, such as the fear of being abandoned, or the fear that I am all alone in this world

Look at the behavior of the disciples to see what fear can do to the human person. Full of fear, they are living behind locked doors, cut off and isolated from the rest of the world, hiding and helpless

Are they afraid that the crowds who waved palms and sang the praises of Jesus as the next King of Israel might mock and ridicule them? Are they afraid that the news they heard from Mary Magdalene might really be true and that Jesus is back from the dead, and that he might be coming to punish them because of their cowardly behavior? Are they afraid that the “leaders of the people”, the ones who killed Jesus, might track them down and put them to death as well

But the disciples, frozen by fear, cannot keep the Risen Jesus from coming to them He is the embodiment of perfect love, an as the first letter of John conveys, perfect love casts out fear

Jesus, risen from the dead, casts out fear with the gift of His peace, a peace the world cannot give, a peace which makes whole what seems to be irreparably broken By the gift of His peace, the Risen Lord restores the relationship he had with his disciples, shows them that even death cannot separate him from them, and that by his mercy, they are forever forgiven

Fear flees in the face of such a love for if Jesus can live after death, so can they, with him The authorities can kill them, but with Jesus they will live on

Which leads us to so-called “Doubting Thomas. Thomas, who was absent when the Risen Lord first appeared to his disciples, shows us that wrestling with doubts can actually lead one to a more profound faith, a richer faith

Too many Christians and non-Christians know Thomas only for his struggle to believe But there is more to the story of Thomas He only has four lines in the whole New Testament, and today we hear two of them
Previously in John’s Gospel when Jesus decided to go back to Judea to visit his dying friend, Lazarus, it is Thomas who speaks up “Let us go along to die with him.” (11:16) So, we could call him, “Courageous Thomas.

Thomas also speaks in the Last Supper discourse in John’s Gospel where he asks Jesus: “Lord, we do not know where you are going, how can we know the way?” (14:5 It was because of this “smart” question from Thomas that we are gifted with one of Jesus’ most powerful statements about his identity: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (14:6 Surely we could call this Apostle, “Smart Thomas”, for asking one of the best questions in the New Testament

The last words we hear from Thomas are “My Lord and my God” (20:28) the most powerful confession of faith in all the Gospels So, why don’t we call him, “Thomas, the Confessor of the Faith.

No, we limit our understanding of who Thomas is to one line, “Unless I see in his hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nail, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (20:25 But even here Thomas is pointing us to something very, very important Thomas wants to see the wounds of Jesus, and Jesus needs someone to point out the importance of his wounds.

For even in his resurrected body, Jesus still has the wounds of his crucifixion The tomb is empty, but the wounds remain Even when he ascends into glory to be seated at the Father’s right hands, Jesus still is marked by the wounds of his love for all humanity Jesus needed a way to let us know that his becoming one of us and one with us in our humanity, was not just a short, unpleasant episode that’s over and done with. No! The Son of God has a human body even now And that human body, even in its Risen, glorified form, still carries the wounds he suffered for our salvation Because of those wounds, God never forgets what God has done for us, even if we forget, even when we are ungrateful and sinful Because of those wounds, the river of God’s merciful love keeps flowing out over the world and into lives thirsting for such a mercy

The wounds are a sign of God’s mercy, the mercy of a God who lifts fear from our hearts and would replace it with love

The mercy of a God who will seek and find us no matter where we hide, no matter how many locked doors we hide behind, no matter how many times we lock the door to our heart and throw away the key

The mercy of a God in the Risen Christ reaches out to touch us with compassion in the most wounded parts of our lives, to mend what has been broken, to make whole again what has shattered

Thomas also teaches us if we want to be healed of our wounds, we need to reach out and touch the wounded body of Christ In order to experience the new life the Risen Jesus longs to share with us, we are called to reach out and touch with compassion Jesus living in the wounded lives all around us

In those wounded by hunger and thirst, in the sick and in the stranger Jesus living in the broken lives of people all around us

When we reach out with compassion to touch Him living in our brothers and sisters, who because of their wounds feel alone, forgotten, abandoned, then we find healing for our deepest wounds.

As we share the peace we have been given, peace flows like a river into our lives

As we share the mercy of God we have received, God’s mercy heals us and brings us new life

Mercy given in and through the Risen Christ, not given to be kept, but to be shared and given away Peace, forgiveness, and joy—all these gifts flowing from the Merciful One, Risen from the dead Mercy which comes flowing into the apostles, and especially Thomas, as he touches the Wounded Christ now Risen. As Thomas gets into the wounded Body of Christ, then he experiences Mercy Then he knows joy and peace and the fullness of forgiveness and new life

SO WE MUST TOUCH THE WOUNDED BODY OF CHRIST in order to receive the life-saving, world-renewing mercy of the Risen One We need to touch the wound of the living Body of Christ Instead of turning away, reach out to touch with a cry of belief in his presence in his wounded body See in the brokenness, both our own touched by Christ and the brokenness in others the very presence of the Risen Christ, and in the touching, by “getting into” the wounds, our woundedness is healed as peace flows like a river into us, joy erupts as light in our darkness, new life blossoms and blooms

EVERY SAINT DID THIS—REASON they are SAINTS, REASON in their life of belief they received the Mercy of God only to have it flow through them into the world in a specific way to touch and heal and help the wounded body of Christ Seton—- orphaned children to teac MacAulay— wounded by sicknes Rother— the wounds of the forgotten ones, crushed by poverty and injustic The saints teach us that the only way into the peace of the Risen One is through his open wounds The saints show us that the way to receive joy and share it—touch the wounded ones Forgiveness—freely flows into our lives when we reach out to touch the wounded Body of Christ

WHAT DID C.S. LEWIS SAY “If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them,” wrote C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity. How much do I want joy? Peace? Eternal life? Do I want these things enough to reach into the wounded Body of Christ

Holy Thursday

March 29, 2018

Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi

This past Tuesday morning I drove to Norman to Grace Living Center to visit my mom. When I walked into her room, one of the nursing home staff, Andrew, was on his knees wrapping my mom’s swollen left leg from her knee all the way down to and including her foot. I could tell the way Andrew was doing this that it was more than just a job to him but that he really cared for my mom. As he wrapped her with one type of gauze and then another, he would constantly look up at her and ask her, “Mary, how’s that feel?” Andrew did the wrapping with a strength that was gentle, a tenderness that was interwoven with the wrapped gauze.

The wrap he put on my mom’s leg and foot would hasten the healing process and bring the swelling down, but a deeper healing happened in that encounter between Andrew and my mother, a healing that always occurs when one person pours themselves out in self-giving love of another.

The Son of God is born of Mary to heal a broken world. He comes to touch humankind with divine tenderness, to pour out his life in love. The 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity becomes human, taking the form of a slave. Though he is King of Kings, he comes not to be served but to serve, to give his life as a ransom for all humanity ensnared in sin and sin’s wages–death itself.

Jesus Christ washes feet his whole life long, reaching out to touch the hurting in loving kindness, making broken hearts whole again, drawing others into the family of God. He is love incarnate. He wraps his flesh around the loving-kindness of God. So, loving kindness flows out of him to touch every person he encounters, even his enemies, and even those who betray him, for he washes Judas’ feet, too. Jesus commands all of his disciples to do the same, to do what he does, to wash feet. He has given us a model to follow—we don’t have to guess how to fulfill his command. We are to live our lives in him and through him and with him, reaching out to touch those hurting in our world, whose hearts have calluses as tough as the ones on our feet. When we do so, we remember him, and in the remembering, he becomes present and active through us.

The cross is the ultimate sign of Jesus emptying himself in life-giving loving service for the salvation of the world. So that when we gather at this holy table to eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim his death until he comes again. The power of his self-giving love flows into us when we share in this sacred supper, so that we might be what he has called his Church to be—his body in the world.

Do we realize what Jesus has done for us? I hardly ever saw my dad angry, though there was one thing that would cause him to be upset with my siblings and me. Sometimes during the 15 minute drive home from Sunday Mass, a fight would erupt among us 4 siblings or one would call another a name, and then dad, passion flaming from his eyes, would ask us if we had forgotten who we had just received and what Jesus had done for us. His point—receiving the Body and the Blood of the Lord was supposed to effect how we lived our lives or we had received this great gift in vain.

Do we realize what Jesus has done for us? Are we aware of how he has given himself to us and for us to free us from the slavery of selfishness, the prison of resentment, the chains of hatred?

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the washer of feet and servant of all, the Crucified Lord of love, gives the Church the great gift of the Eucharist to remember Him. We receive his body and blood, and are joined to Him, so we might do as he did—give our lives away in loving service of others.

Too many Christians make the Christian life too difficult and complicated when it is actually quite simple. Having joined our lives Christ Jesus, to the power of his dying and rising in baptism, we are nourished again and again by the Risen Christ in this holy meal.

Thus united with him we have the mind and heart of Christ Jesus, empowered by him to love others as he loves us. Self-giving service to others is one of the highest forms of Christian love. We develop a “foot-washing” attitude, which impels us to give our lives away to others with him and through him. We are able to love in such a way because he strengthens us by the gift of the Eucharist.

As we put on the mind of Christ, our hearts beat more closely with his as we reach out to “wash feet,” touching with tenderness those who are hurting. From this position of Christ-like service, we become the hands of Christ, caressing and healing the broken body of Christ. Christ is the one serving and the one being served—how incredible is that!

From the humble position of service where we are looking up at another person, it becomes impossible to look down upon them, and we see others with the eyes of Christ.

From the humble, obedient position of loving service, it is almost impossible to shout at the other, and instead our words flow from the mouth of Christ, words that build up instead of tear down.

From the humble, obedient stance of a “foot-washer”, we come to know that we are not separate from others but one with them in their pain, and so we love them with the heart of Christ.

One of the few TV shows my parents let me watch as a kid was “Mister Rogers Neighborhood.” The grandfatherly host of the show, Fred Rogers, doled out wisdom in a very gentle yet earnest way. Mister Rogers once said, “You need three things to be successful in life in the only way that truly counts. The first is kindness. The second is kindness. And the third is kindness.”

That may sound naïve, but is just the opposite.

It is our only realistic hope if we want to transform the meanness poisoning our air, so we might breathe as one people under God again. The loving-kindness of Christ flowing through us transforms the world.

It is our only realistic hope of conquering hate with love, of peace triumphing over war, of fueling a justice that proves more powerful than greed.

As we our nourished by the Bread of Life, he hungers in us for us to live as neighbors, one and all.

As we drink of Him who is the Cup of Eternal Salvation, he thirsts in us for unity, that all might live as brothers and sisters in Him.

3rd Sunday of Lent – Cycle B

March 4, 2018

Deacon Paul Lewis


Up to now in this Lenten Season, Mark has been the voice of the Sunday gospel readings.

However, this Sunday we move from Mark’s Gospel, a gospel that describes Jesus’ ministry at a very fast pace, packed with precise, orderly details, to John’s Gospel, full of stirring images and emotion.

Each of the four gospels describe the scene of Jesus driving out the merchants from the Temple.

But what is unique to John is that he places this scene at the beginning of his gospel. It’s the second of many signs that John will describe in his Gospel.

If we take a close look at John’s Gospel, we find this scene in the Temple follows immediately after the miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana, the first of his many signs.

From Cana and the festive family celebration in a home we move to Jerusalem and the somber courts of the Temple in Jerusalem.

From a scene where Jesus is surrounded by believers, by his mother and disciples, to the temple in Jerusalem where there is conflict, peril, and staunch disbelief of the “Jews”, who John describes as the religious authorities hostile to Jesus.

And as is usually the case with John’s Gospel, there is a lot more going on here than meets the eye.

The money changers in the temple… they actually performed a very necessary service. For the Passover feast, Jews came from all over to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.

People coming from a long distance would not have brought the necessary sacrifices with them. And because they came from far away, the only money they would have is Roman coins, with an image of Caesar or other pagan gods.

This money would have been unfit for temple purchases, and so money changing became indispensable. Likewise sellars of animals to be used for sacrifice were a necessary part of the commerce in the temple.

Jesus accuses the merchants of turning his Father’s house into a marketplace. But the truth of the matter part of the temple area was a marketplace.

So why is Jesus so irate? A clue lies in the Book of the Prophet Zechariah. The prophet describes that on the day of fulfillment, the day of the coming of the Messiah,

there shall no longer be any merchant in the house of the Lord of hosts.
Zechariah 14:21c

By clearing out the merchants in the Temple, Jesus is announcing the arrival of the Messianic Age.

The Jewish authorities weren’t as upset about what he did, as about by what authority he had to do it. What they wanted from Jesus was a sign that he was the one sent by God; the fulfillment of the promise God made through the prophets.

Jesus’ forceful actions upon entering the Temple and driving out the merchants was a sign that his ministry would be to replace that lifeless cult that had characterized the Temple.

He was to cast out the old system of worship in the great Temple of Jerusalem with the new, living Temple of his body. The sacrifices of the Temple would be replaced by his one, perfect sacrifice on the cross.

Like people who went to the Temple, we come to this place, to worship with the community and be in a holy place before God.

But, too often, places dedicated to worship can become places of routine and conformity to the prevailing culture.

If Jesus entered the sanctuaries of our lives, the sanctuaries of our souls, what would he want to turn over and drive out?

Our frozen ideas about God? Our coziness and withdrawal from the outside world? Our incorporation of the values of our culture, where sports, activities, entertainment, and concern about what “my” needs are take precedence over Gospel values?

Would he want to overturn those tables of our sinful lives brought on by the seven deadly sins of pride, greed, envy, anger, lust, gluttony, or sloth?

Or maybe the most difficult table of all… that of not noticing, the table of forgetting God’s great love for each of us.

But this is the opportunity of Lent. We began Lent by stepping back and looking at those practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

We set aside this season knowing that God is calling us to something more, hoping that we can draw closer to the one who loves us.

But the reality is that God is already close. God is waiting on us to notice. Jesus waits for us to allow him to overturn the tables, to humanize the temple inside you and me, and rid us of all that keep us from being his faithful disciples, from loving him and one another.

In trust, in hope, and yes, maybe even in uneasiness and discomfort, let us invite Jesus to overturn those tables of our lives, and let the “holy chaos” begin.

February 25, 2018

Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi


Abraham has had a long relationship with God. Abraham’s trust in God has been tested numerous times, and with every test his trust grows in God’s goodness and generosity. As Abraham looks back on his life, he can clearly see in every time of testing, God provided him what he needed.

Read chapters 12-22 of Genesis and notice the tests Abraham endures, But this last test, the 10th test according to Jewish scholars, is the most troubling.

For it is the ultimate test of Abraham’s faith, the greatest test of Abraham’s trust that God will provide. God asks him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, the child in whom all the promises of God reside, Abraham’s only son, the apple of his eye, his beloved.

Now we wonder, what kind of God is this who commands a father to sacrifice his only son? What kind of God would make such a horrific request? In order to understand the power of this sacred story, we need to walk around in the world in which Abraham lives.

Abraham lives in a world where child sacrifice is common. Parents would sacrifice their children to the gods in order to appease them, in order to ensure a good harvest, in order to remain in the favor of the gods. Because this was thousands of years before the age of science, the ancient people did not understand the causes of drought and disease— they saw these happenings as punishment from the gods for something they, the people had done, to make the gods angry.

In order to be on the good side of the gods, the very best gift was required— the gift of their very own flesh, their very own child. Now we “enlightened” ones who live in the 21st century quickly condemn such barbaric behavior, but in the time of Abraham, it was the norm. It was the way people tried to find some measure of control in a world largely out of their control.

For they lived in a state of constant dread and anxiety. Even when the harvest was bountiful because of plentiful rain and sunshine, they thought they owed the gods something for this bounty, and the ultimate sacrifice, one of their children, would be a proper expression of gratitude.

So, either out of sense of having done something terribly wrong to offend the gods and thus cause a shortage of foodstuff, or out of a sense of gratitude for a good harvest, the ancient people were constantly trying to placate the gods of sun and rain, the earth and the sky. They were always anxious and fearful, believing in gods who took from them, who were angry and against them, who always had to be pleased, or else their wrath would fall upon the people.

Abraham thinks he, too, needs to pay the ultimate price to the God who has called him to be a “Father of a Great Nation”, who has vowed to give him the “Promised Land.” But in this sacred story, we discover an important truth about the God of Abraham— He is not against Abe, he is for Abe; he is not a God who takes life, but a God who gives life; he is not a vengeful, bloodthirsty god but a God of mercy.

But before the God of Abraham proves how he is different from the others gods, Isaac’s life hangs in the balance. The editors of our lectionary have omitted verses 3-8 in Chapter 22, which are an important part of this sacred story. On the 3rd day of their journey, Abraham spots Mt. Moriah. Then Abraham and Isaac leave the servants and begin to walk up the mountain, with Isaac carrying the wood for the holocaust and Abraham the knife and the fire. As they make their way to the mountain top, Isaac innocently asks: “Father, here are the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the holocaust?” Abraham’s reply reveals his deep, abiding trust in the God, even while dread weighs him down: “God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust.”

Abe’s deep abiding trust in the One who makes the Promises. That in the face of incomprehensible disaster, God has other ways of keeping His Promises. What kind of God would ask a father to sacrifice his son? Not the God of Abraham, not the God of Jesus Christ. Moreover, God blesses Abraham, and assures Abraham of something even more— that Abraham’s descendants will be a blessing for generations to come.

That includes you and me, since we are descendants of Abraham, for he is our Father in faith.

Such is the extravagant love of God for humankind, a love we see evident in his Son, Jesus Christ. Our Heavenly Father did not spare his only Son, but handed him over for us all. God provides for more than Abraham or we can even imagine.

This God of ours gives us, out of love, the very best he has to give, his only Son. Our Heavenly Father sees the people to whom he has given life and provided every good thing on the earth are lost and cannot find their way back home to him, the Provider of Life and giver of all good things. It is this God and Father who out of love hands over his Son, entrusting that which is most precious to Him to us, in order that we might know how much we are loved and might find our way, through the Son, back home to our Heavenly Father. Therefore, it is not we who are called to sacrifice what is most dear to us, but God who sacrifices what is most dear to God.

This is our God— a God who is for us, never against us. Even when we feel like God has turned against us during times of suffering or tragedy, the truth of the matter is that God is with us in His Son, who freely chooses to embrace all the suffering and tragedy of humanity. God-in-Christ does not shake his fist at us in anger, but as we look to the cross, opens his hands in self-giving love to all those who suffer, opens his arms from the cross on the Mount of Calvary to embrace all of humanity.

This is the great Good News that Jesus, the beloved son of the Father, announces to the world both in word and deed, by his life and death and resurrection: God is always for us. God is always on our side. God will provide everything we need. So, we are challenged by the Father to “listen to him”— to listen to Jesus.

The Son of God dies on a cross, the sinless one in place of us sinners, sacrificing his life that we might live as beloved sons and daughters of the Father. So we can give back to God what belongs to God.

2nd Sunday of Lent – Cycle B

Ash Wednesday

February 14, 2018

Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi


I am always struck by the large numbers of people who come to church on Ash Wednesday, as many if not more than the great celebrations of Christmas and Easter. The Mass is like any other regular Mass except for one thing—we are marked with ashes. Why do people come for what appears to be the reason of being marked with ashes?

I think deep within each person is the desire to know the truth of their existence, to remember that we are dust and to dust we shall return. To remember our life on this earth is a gift from God, but that it is a temporary gift, it does not last forever. Ash Wednesday brings us face to face with our own death and challenges us to look more closely at how we are spending our limited time here on this earth.

Ashes imprinted on our foreheads are a powerful reminder of this truth — our time on this planet is limited, and everything we think is so important and so essential eventually passes away.

But that is not the whole story of Ash Wednesday, nor of our life of faith, because these cold as death ashes are imprinted on our foreheads with the sign of the cross. By Jesus’ death on the cross, we need no longer fear death nor the temporary nature of our earthly existence. Jesus invites us to die with him, to let loose our grip on the things of this world in order to grip more firmly the eternal truth of his life-giving, death destroying love. The cross imbedded on our forehead reminds us that we are to “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”

In other words, we are to turn our lives toward Jesus in all things and in every way in order to discover the great good news of His saving love now, today.

The Holy Season of Lent reminds us we are called to do more than give up something. Rather, we are called to give ourselves more fully to Someone, Jesus Christ, the Lord of Life and Death.

There are three traditional ways practiced by people of faith over centuries upon centuries to give ourselves more fully to Jesus, and thus through Him to God the Father. Jesus encourages his disciples to put these three into practice throughout their life. They are prayer, almsgiving and fasting. All three cause us to look more closely at how we are spending our short time on earth.

All of us need to go each day into the “desert of quiet” and spend some time listening and speaking with Jesus. One of the best ways to listen to Him is through His Holy Word in the Scriptures, especially in the Gospels. When we spend time in quiet with him each day, Jesus will bring to light areas of our life which he wants to heal, especially the resentments we carry with us that are like acid burning a hole in our soul. In fact, it’s only by prayer that we are able to give these hurts to God, to let go of them.

But prayer is not only personal, but also communal, so we set aside time every Sabbath to join our brothers and sisters in Christ in praising and thanking the Father for all He has done for us in Christ Jesus. To be nourished by the great gift of the Eucharist. The Risen Jesus gives himself to us in the Eucharist as we give ourselves to Him.

By giving alms, which is love in action, we give ourselves to Jesus present in the least of our brothers and sisters. For whatsoever we do for them, Jesus tells us, we do for Him. Giving alms is more than giving of our money, but even more importantly giving of our time to reach out to touch the broken body of our Lord in those who suffer around us. So almsgiving can mean giving ourselves to Jesus by visiting those who are sick, or those who are in nursing homes or homebound, or those in prison behind bars. Almsgiving happens when we help out at Sr. BJ’s pantry for the homeless in downtown OKC or assist in organizing the food given to the Regional Food Bank, giving of our time to help out at Catholic Charities, or bringing canned food to Mass to be given to the local food pantry here in Mustang.

Fasting is more than simply eating less or giving up our favorite food or drink. Fasting means also giving up those habits which drain time out of our day, such as spending too much time on social media or vegging in front of the TV. Some people can sit down in front of their computer, open their Facebook page, and surf the net, and all of sudden an hour or two has disappeared from their day. What would happen if we spent that time this Lent interacting with family or friends, or using that time for prayer or to practice deeds of charity?

The resounding call of Lent is to “repent and believe in the Gospel.” In other words, it’s about conversion, about turning to the Lord Jesus and giving ourselves more fully to Him, who is the Resurrection and the Life.

He is the one who can lead us through the many “deaths” we experience while living on this earth. He is the One who leads us through our own bodily death to life everlasting.

Photo by unsplash-logoAhna Ziegler on Unsplash