As we begin the Lenten Season we once again start with the Sorrowful Mysteries. The first is the Agony in the Garden it can be found in all the Gospels in different ways. Since the events covered are from the end of Last Supper and the Arrest of Jesus. The Fruit of the mystery is Sorrow for Sin as Uniformity to God’s Will.
When the Last Supper was ended Jesus took a walk to pray, he went to the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives with his apostles/disciples to pray. Peter, James and John were there and Jesus asked them to stay awake for an hour and pray with him. Jesus went off and prayed to the Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. I don’t want to take this poison. Going back to the apostles he finds them asleep and wakes them saying couldn’t you stay up just an hour. While Jesus was praying his sweat was blood and he ended his prayer by accepting it” If the cup can’t pass by let me drink of it your will be done.” After all of this Jesus recognizes that his hour to be betrayed has come.
Let us remember this during Lent we are offered several opportunities for other religious activities confession and stations of the cross seem to be at least a weekly thing along with a fish fry on Fridays during the season. If you have some time take it and go to one of these events or whatever else is offered in our local church.
To mark the end of the Year of Mercy Pope Francis has written an Apostolic Letter, in which he reflects on the year and what we should do. Pope Francis begins by saying that mercy need to be apart of our lives, looking at the Gospel story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery (John 8:1-11) the woman by the Law of Moses should be stoned, but Jesus reminds us the intent of the Law. There is love at the heart of the Law for it is God’s Law and God is love. Pope Francis goes on to the time the woman came and washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and anointed them, Jesus says that “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47) It all comes down to forgiveness which is the most visible sign of God’s love and mercy is a concrete action of love.
The letter goes into a what can we do now that the year is over. Francis make an appeal for confession and he says that the provisions made during this Jubliee year for regular priest forgiving Abortion and the faithful in SPPX communities can obtain absolution for their sins will continue. The Pontiff continues “The Jubilee now ends and the Holy Door is closed. But the door of mercy of our heart continues to remain wide open.” Let us all remember that Mercy is available to all of us in all shapes. Pope Francis the names the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time as the World Day of the Poor. If you have some time over this upcoming holiday weekend take a look at this Apostolic Letter. Mercy is distilled down to love, let us all go out into the world filled with love for one another.
This week the reading come from the second book of Kings 5:14-17, Psalm 96, Paul’s second letter to Timothy 2:8-13 and Luke’s Gospel 17:11-19.
We have a couple of readings about Leprosy this week in 2nd Kings we hear of a leper who become clean and this story is similar to that in Luke where ten lepers are cleansed. One leper comes and offers thanks for being cured. However, in the Bible this can be considered some sign of sin. It is something that effects us all. We have the sacrament of reconciliation which is something which can use to clean the sin from our lives. We are given ample opportunities but often forget about this sacrament since it is offered at least weekly at parishes across the world. All to often are we like the nine lepers who didn’t come back to thank the Lord for curing them but just went about their business. As the story goes Jesus tells all ten to go show themselves to the priest and while they were on their way they were cleansed, and one realizing that he is clean turns back to thank Jesus. Let us all try to be like that one leper and turn back, going out of our way, to thank the Lord this week.
This week the readings come from the second book of Samuel 12:7-10,13; Psalm 32; Paul’s letter to the Galatians 2:16, 19-21; and Luke’s Gospel 7:36-8:3.
We focus this week on sin, repentance and forgiveness. We hear about King David and sinful woman, who both ask for forgiveness for their sins. Let us all echo the psalm this week “Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.” we all are in the same boat but due to the abundance of love from our heavenly Father we can be forgiven. The miracle of the sacrament of Confession is one place where we can go and ask for forgiveness. This is pretty scary thing for some people as we have to be willing to be repentant of what we have done and admit that we have done something wrong. Let us all keep in the mind the depth of the love that comes from the Lord and we should show the same to the world.
This week’s readings are Isaiah 43:16-21, Psalm 126, Paul’s letter to the Philippians 3:8-14 and John’s Gospel 8:1-11. This week is also the Third Scrutiny so you might get the readings from Year A instead of these.
Today, the readings have us reflecting upon the past but also looking towards the future. In Isaiah we hear that we should not remember the things of the past since the Lord will make all things new. Paul tells us to live in Christ because life before that is meaningless and in John we hear about forgiveness when the woman caught in adultery is about to be stoned, Jesus says to the crowd “Let those who haven’t sinned cast the first stone.” These readings are a reminder to all of us about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it that thing that important but not many of us are keen to actually go. This is where the hope and the promise to make all things new begins by admitting that we’ve made mistakes and trying to do better in the future. All to often we are the ones with the stones wanting to throw them at someone else for their sins but we are all that woman who Jesus is willing to forgive as well. We all are sinners but we can improve ourselves and hopefully by transforming ourselves we can change the world for the better.
The fruit of this mystery is Sorrow for Sin, Uniformity with the will of God.
As we enter into the Lenten season this is something to think about. Sure we all sin and I am sure that we all don’t want to talk about it, just think about how many people put off going to Confession for years. For our sins to be forgiven we need to be contrite and sorry for what we have done. Since that’s what God wants or whatever. If you have some time during Lent perhaps head to confession and do some other church related business, Stations of the Cross or going to the Lenten Fish Fry/Soup Supper.
This week we begin in the book of Leviticus, Leviticus is the third book of the Bible and mostly consists of priestly literature, so it isn’t unexpected that in Greek Leviticus mean relating to the Levites. The reading (Lv 13:1-2,44-46) we are given the beginning of a chapter and skip to like the middle of the chapter to end it and in this chapter there are some rules that were set forth by the Lord. It just so happens to be leprosy. The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron saying that if someone looks like they have leprosy the individual should go to the priest and if he is leprous and unclean the priest will declare so. Then we are given some instruction as what lepers are to do “they shall keep their garments rent, head bare, muffle his beard and cry out “unclean”” this individuals also should live apart from the world.
In this week’s installment of Paul letter to Corinth: part 1, Paul tells us to do everything for the glory of the Lord and try to please everyone in every way. This is a big thing right here try to do everything for the Lord and being considerate for our fellow humans. This is something that many politicians struggle with today crossing the aisle and working with one another for the greater good. It doesn’t matter who we are or where we come from we should all be striving to build the Kingdom of God here on Earth.
Turning to the Gospel we return to where we left off last week and the talk of lepers continues as well. Jesus was approached by a leper who knelt down before Jesus saying “You can make me clean” Jesus stretches out his hand and the leprosy left the man. Jesus then tells the man to not tell anyone of what had happened and go show himself to the priest and make the proper sacrifice as prescribed in Leviticus. The man would go and tell everyone of what had happened and Jesus didn’t even have a chance to enter the city. This is a unique feature of Mark’s Gospel Jesus telling people to stay quiet about the event they just saw. Leprosy may not afflict us in our lives but we all are sinners and sin makes us unclean. So we should be going to the priest and telling them our sins and being forgiven of them. As we inch closer to Lent I hope that we are all inspired by the message to go to confession at some point during the season.
Hey, look at that it matches up with the reading from Sunday yet again. If we remember Jesus said “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel. ”
This message can be seen as a cliff notes version of the faith and the billing that the Kingdom of God is at hand is still the same today as it was 2000 years ago. The Lord is not at one time but at all times, this is a concept that some struggle with. The Kingdom of God is and will always be at hand until it is established here on earth. We must make it our goal in lives to make the world a better place.
However we can’t forget about the repenting part, for many myself included the sacrament of Confession or Reconciliation or Penance, whatever you want to call it, is the one that we barely want to think about. We think that just by going to Church on Sunday there is that confession bit at the beginning is enough, but it isn’t. Even the Holy Father has gone out and expressed the need for a revival\renewal in this sacrament.