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Fr. Tim’s Homily for February 26, 2017

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time – A

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Isaiah 49: 14-15

1 Corinthians 4: 1-5

Matthew 6: 24-34

 

“No one can serve two masters,” Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel.  “He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.”  Jesus wants our complete and undivided loyalty.

This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and it opens for us a season to repent and re-claim Jesus as our only Lord and our only Master.

The tried-and-true way of observing “a good Lent” is threefold:  prayer, penance, and charity. I encourage you to do something in the realm of each of these three categories that will help you to become a better disciple of Jesus between now and Easter.  So do something in the area of prayer, something in the area of penance and self-denial, and something in the area of charity towards others.

The Church really requires so little of us for Lent, leaving the bulk of it up to our own decisions.  On Ash Wednesday and all of the Fridays of Lent, including Good Friday, all of us – ages 14 and older – abstain from eating meat.  And everyone between the ages of 18-59 observes Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as days of fasting as well:  with one full meal and two lesser meals and no snacking in between except for liquids.  But all of the rest of our Lenten observance is up to us.

Today I thought that I would tell you about some things we will be offering for Lent that I hope will help you to have the best-ever Lent too.

At all of the Masses next weekend, the First Sunday of Lent, every household at Saint Joseph and Nativity Parishes will receive a free copy of The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly.  The four signs are:  prayer, study, generosity and evangelization.

I will base my Sunday homilies each week during Lent on the Scriptures and on this book, following the reading schedule that will be found in each Sunday’s bulletin.  There will also be some discussion questions each week in the bulletin that you may use yourself or in your families or with your friends and prayer groups.

As we read and study this book together I hope that it will enable all of us to grow as disciples of Jesus.

Also during Lent I will offer a three-part study of the Mass for everyone at Saint Joseph and Nativity Parishes, and anyone that you would like to invite.

Sometimes we presume that everyone knows how to pray the Mass.  Not understanding what this prayer is all about can lead people to conclude that “Mass is boring.”

But unlocking the meanings behind the rituals and the vesture, the Scriptures and the prayers, the singing, the postures and the seasons and so forth can help us understand and appreciate this most excellent prayer the Church has to offer and inspire us to keep coming back to the Mass for more.

Part One, on Monday, March 13th, will be a “show and tell” and examine up-close the church building and the items that we use for the Mass such as vestments, vessels and books.

Part Two, on Monday, March 20th, will be about the Liturgy of the Word and how to pray with it.

Part Three, on Monday, March 27th, will look at the Liturgy of the Eucharist and what it means.

I will present this study of the Mass twice on each date:  at 1:00 PM and then a repeat session at 7:00 PM.  They will each last one hour and fifteen minutes.  All will take place in Saint Joseph Church.

Nativity Parish is so blessed to have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament year-round, Monday through Friday from 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM.

At Saint Joseph, we will have all-day Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel on all of the Mondays of Lent.  I will expose the Blessed Sacrament at the conclusion of the 9:00 AM Mass.  Benediction and closing prayers will take place at 6:30 PM.  Sign-up opportunities for adoration throughout the day are now available outside the chapel.

So many of our parish meetings at Saint Joseph take place on Monday evenings at 7:00 PM.  Coming a little early to pray before the Blessed Sacrament and celebrate Benediction would be an excellent way to prepare for the meetings to follow.

Stations of the Cross – in some different formats – will be prayed every Friday evening of Lent in Saint Joseph Church at 7:00 PM, following the Fish Fry.  So you may come for a great Lenten dinner between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM and then stay for some great Lenten prayer at 7:00 PM.

Stations of the Cross will also be prayed on the Friday evenings of Lent at 7:00 PM in Nativity Church.

“No one can serve two masters,” Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel.  “He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.”  Jesus wants our complete and undivided loyalty.

I encourage you to use these days before Ash Wednesday to firm-up your Lenten plans.  And together, let’s make this the best Lent that we have ever spent.  A blessed and happy Forty Days, everyone!