Open Your Heart Through Lent

Dear Friends,

Happy and blessed Lent 2021 to each of you and to your loved ones! Does it seem like we are right back at the beginning of this past year? In reality, we are continuing ~ continuing to navigate in unchartered territory as the pandemic unfolds this way and that way. But praised be Jesus Christ who came to us, suffered and died for our sakes, who is risen, and who intercedes for us before His Father in Heaven!! Our faith is in Him who is our hope, each and every day!

And why do we believe and why do we have hope especially now? Well, Archbishop Perez put it this way when he was asked by a doctor if he had hope in the midst of all that is happening in our world. The Archbishop replied, “Doctor, I follow a man who rose from the dead! Yes, I do have hope.” When we give ourselves to the Lord Jesus, then indeed we live, think, speak, and act in hope.

In our Gospel this weekend, we hear, “After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” This message of Jesus is the salutary message of the Church to each of us today and always.

Our human nature is weak and fragile, our egos are fiery and often overreaching. We can easily be swayed this way or that. With our human frailty, we need a center point, we need a rock foundation, we need a Savior. Jesus, our “way, and truth, and life,” shows us how to encounter Him, how to receive the Father’s forgiveness and healing, how to be living temples of the Holy Spirit. Repent, believe, why? Because “this is the time of fulfillment.”

Jesus is God made man. In His Church, He offers us His Sacraments to give to us a participation in Divine Life. His grace is sufficient for us in every circumstance and in every need. Repentance opens us to the power of Divine love and helps us to live fully alive now as we look forward to seeing Him face to face in Heaven.

Whatever you plan, and please do plan, for Lent in the areas of prayer, fasting and almsgiving be certain that it opens your heart and soul to Jesus, who abides with us and wants to reveal Himself to us and to help us. Lent is not a marathon; it is not about us proving ourselves. Lent is a time to humbly surrender to the Lord and to His ways. It is a time to seek His Will, to accept His Will, and to do His Will. “Repent and believe in the gospel.” It is the only sure and certain way through this world. Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever! Amen!

God bless you, God love you,

Monsignor McCulken

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