What Do You Respect?

Here we are the Third Sunday of Lent. Our reading from Saint Paul this weekend focuses right into the core of this Holy Season. We all like to have signs; we all appreciate wisdom. This world of ours tries to allure us with both, often not life giving. Saint Paul though states unequivocally, “we proclaim Christ crucified … Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” It is Jesus who is the anointed, the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God in the Flesh who redeems and saves us from sin and from death.

For those of you who chose to follow the Best Lent Ever internet program from Matthew Kelly, did you catch his sharing this past Monday on how our culture respects success? Admiring success is fine as far as that goes but the real question about respect, is what do I respect about a

person? Matthew Kelly’s answer is virtue, the integrity of virtue. Isn’t it so true? We respect and admire people who are living the Christian virtues. We like to be around them. We know we can depend on them. We feel attracted to them because of their basic goodness. He ends by saying, “For me, that's the Mount Everest of life: to live a life of virtue, to live a life of character, to live an integrated life.”

Lent is that season when we strive through prayer, fasting and almsgiving, through penitential exercises, to increase our practice of virtue, to strengthen ourselves through living the virtues, to deepen into our very soul, virtue itself. That’s why the Lord gave us the Ten Commandments, to show us the way to virtue. That’s why in His zeal for the Temple, then the place of encounter between God and His people, Jesus drove out the moneychangers and others. What do we need driven out from ourselves in order that God’s virtues can flourish within, take root deeply and then flow from us to touch our neighbors? It is a good question to ponder this week.

This Sunday is our Lenten Family project, Rise Against Hunger. I am so grateful to the abundant and generous response, which this project has garnered from our parish family. The donations to support this effort to feed the hungry is awesome but the commitment to come to the school and to actively pack food that will go to the poor in other nations is just as awesome. It is hands on charity and generosity, very important virtues, and characteristics of disciples and of dynamic Catholics. May God bless this work abundantly. May we share joyfully the gifts and blessings we have received from our loving and merciful Savior.

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