March 2nd, 2014 – 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

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Dear Friends:
In these weeks, as we follow the Sermon on the Mount in Saint Matthew’s Gospel, it can feel as though we are dealing with some very obvious” and familiar teachings. Last week we had “Love your neighbour”, and this week the extremely simple message that God loves and cares for us. This is because the Sermon on the Mount is a great summary of the most basic teachings of our faith, and we should take this opportunity to renew within ourselves our awareness of these teachings. After a simple, yet beautiful image in the first reading, Jesus elaborates on the idea of the constant care of God for us with some more beautiful images: he invites us to look at the birds and the flowers, which do not have money, mortgages, computers, cars or so many of the things we have and worry about, and yet manage to be beautiful and happy in what God provides. The message is simple, and is expressed right at the beginning of the Gospel: trust God; be the servant of God, relying on God for everything, not on money or the other things of this world.

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. The Ash Wednesday Gospel opens the season of Lent by discussing the three practices that we are expected to take up: prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. The Gospel passage is taken from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount wherein he tells the disciples that he has come not to destroy the Law but to fulfill the Law through love. The Law of love is not about external appearances but about the truth in the heart. Perhaps you have been going through the motions of going to Mass but never praying. Maybe you are generous with your friends and family but do nothing to help up the poor. Do you eat and drink differently in company than behind closed doors? Lent is a time to evaluate the integrity of our lives through our relationship with God, with others, and with ourselves. It is less important how we appear to others than how God sees us in secret. If you find any contradictions, use this season to restore wholeness to your life.
Action: How are you going to express prayer, fasting, and almsgiving this Lent? Make a plan.
In addition to the regular parish schedule, the sacrament of Reconciliation will be available at all parishes throughout the Diocese all the Wednesdays of Lent from 7:30 – 8:30pm.