Livonia, Michigan

Noteworthy News from Fr. Tom

First Sunday of Lent

Let the journey begin! The journey of Lent! The primary purpose of Lent is to prepare us for the celebration of Jesus’ death and Resurrection. The second purpose is to bring us to renew our Baptismal promises of rejecting Satan and accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, allowing him to rule our lives. Both these aims demand purification of minds and hearts. On Ash Wednesday we all heard the words: Repent and believe in the Gospel.

“When should I repent?” the disciples asked their master Rabbi Eliezer. “The day before we die,” said the Rabbi with an air of authority in his words. “But how we do know when we are going to die?” his disciples asked him again.
“We do not know when we are going to die,” said the master. “That is all the more reason for us to repent of our sins always!” – However, our repentance should not be meant exclusively as a preparation for our death. It should also be meant to help us live a life of holiness. Our repentance should lead to a change of heart and a radical renewal in our life.

The Church tries to achieve this goal by leading her children to a metanoia or true “repentance,” by renewal of life through fasting, prayer, almsgiving, self-control, and practice of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. During Lent, we talk to God through personal, family, and liturgical prayers; we listen to Him by meditative Bible reading. We serve the Lord by giving alms, and we practice self-control through fasting. Since by Baptism we share the death and Resurrection of Jesus, today’s readings refer to Baptism directly or indirectly.

What is the life message for us: 1) Let us conquer our temptations as Jesus did, using the methods Jesus employed: prayer, self-denial, and timely use of the word of God. During this Lent, let us confront our evil tendencies by talking to God, by listening to Him speaking to us though the Holy Bible, and by practicing self-control to subdue our evil tendencies. 2) Let us convert Lent into a time for spiritual growth and Christian maturity by: a) participating in the Mass each day, or at least a few days in the week; b) setting aside some part of our day for personal prayer; c) reading some Scripture alone or better still with others. d) setting aside some money we might spend on ourselves for meals, entertainment, or clothes and giving it to an organization which takes care of the less fortunate in our society; e) abstaining from smoking, alcohol, and other evil addictions; f) receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation in Lent and participating in the “Stations of the Cross” on Wednesdays or Fridays; g) visiting the sick and those in nursing homes, and h) doing some acts of charity, kindness, and mercy every day in Lent. 3) Let us use Lent to fight daily against the evil within us and around us by practicing self-control, relying on the power of prayer, and seeking the assistance and the daily anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Holy Lent to you! Fr. Tom