Browsing Pastor's Notes

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Here Comes Lent!

Are you ready? Have you made your plans? Have you decided how will you Fast, Pray, and give Alms? Recalled what you did last year, or the years before? Thought about what went well and didn’t. What worked and what fell short. Have you written out your plans, put them on a Post-it for the bathroom mirror, jotted them down in your calendar, set alarm reminder? Have you carefully detailed your Lenten eating plan – what you can and cannot have and when? Have you decided now if you will let yourself relax your Lenten practices on the Lenten Sundays or not? Are you ready to take on and enter deeply into Lent? Do you have a sure clad plan on how you will make Lent super-spiritual and forever life-changing? Great. Now tear it up. Throw it out. Burn it. Pitch it in the trash can. Lent is not about your plans.

If this holy preparatory and repentant Season of Lent is going to bear any fruit whatsoever in your life – it has to center on God’s Plan for you! Now don’t hear me wrong. God’s plan includes such things as listening to the Church which was granted by Christ the power to bind and loose – so yes, go to Confession (which you are required to do at least once a year). Yes, Fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday if you are between your 14th and 60th birthdays. Yes, abstain from meat on all the Friday’s of Lent, no matter your age. Yes, partake in extra prayers – perhaps the Stations-of-the-Cross or a new daily Lenten devotional. Yes, be attentive to those who are less fortunate by giving Alms. Yes, please do those things, but first and foremost, ask God, “What do You want me to do? What is Your Plan, Your Purpose, Your Preference for how I enter into this Lent?”

Jesus went into the desert for 40-days. Not because it was His idea. Not because He wanted to show how strong He was by fasting. Not because He wanted to challenge future generations with a 40-day self-improvement plan. Not because He wanted to duel with the devil. No, Jesus went out into the desert because He was filled with the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit drove Him into the desert (Mt 4:1, Mk 1:12, Lk 4:1, Jn 1:32). Hear that again, Jesus went out into the desert because He was filled with Love and that Love sent Him into the desert. The Holy Spirit is the Love of the Father for the Son and the Love of the Son for the Father. And so when Jesus was filled with the Spirit and acted, He was filled with Love and acted on the Love He had for the Father. That is always the best plan, the best purpose, the divine preference for every single thought, word, or deed we might pursue – Love – God’s Love. Love for the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Love for the Church and our community. Love is always at the core of God’s Plan.

So I ask you again, are you ready for Lent? Do you have a plan? Is it your plan – what you’ve decided you will do? Or is it God’s Plan of Love for you, in you, and through you toward God, neighbor, and self? If the plan you have in mind for Lent began in the Loving Mind of God for you, it will be a truly life-changing Lent of Love.

Ash Wednesday

March 2nd

8a Mass (with School children)

Noon + 6p (6pm Mass Livestreamed)

Holy Family,

Surrendered to the Loving Plan

of the Father through the Holy Spirit,

Pray for us.

~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries


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