Pastor's Corner

A Blessed and a Happy Easter to all!

Ash Wednesday: The Journey to Renewal Begins

 

Praise and thank the Lord for giving us another opportunity for renewal during this season of Lent!  As the origin of the word suggests, (Old English, “lengthen,” German, “Lenz,” Dutch, “Lente,” which means “spring,”) lent is a time to bud forth, to grow.  Applying it to our spiritual life, God has given us a chance to grow in holiness!  To achieve this goal, the church has admonished us to perform the usual penitential acts:  almsgiving, prayer, and fasting/abstinence.  The current regulations concerning Lenten fasting and abstinence for Roman Catholics in the United States generally are as follows(confer canons 1250, 1252, 1253):

 

·         Abstinence from all meat is to be observed by all Roman Catholics 14 years old and older on Ash Wednesday, on all Fridays of Lent, and on Good Friday (which is not part of Lent, but rather part of the three day Paschal Triduum).

 

  • Fasting is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by all Roman Catholics who are 18 years of age but not yet 59.                                                                         

Some people choose to make some personal additional penance of giving up something for Lent, like giving up chocolate or cutting short their TV or computer time.  This is good in itself spiritually especially if it is done as a form of personal sacrifice and penance.  It is a meritorious act, and hopefully will lead to spiritual growth.  However, some people ask the question whether they can take a break of their penitential observance on a Sunday during Lent, on the argument that Sunday is not counted for Lent.  First, the additional penance they perform is their personal choice, and is not among those required by church law, so who can prevent them from taking such a break.  But if you really intend to do it as a penance for Lent, will taking a break be beneficial for your spiritual discipline.  It is like, trying to quit smoking.  Surely, taking a break even for a day from smoking will not help your cause.  That would be the same in our spiritual life and particularly in our Lenten penance.  If you really want to do it as a sacrifice, why take a break? In fact the USCCB  was on the discussion of bringing back the practice of doing penance even outside of Lent.  " The work of our Conference during the coming year includes reflections on re-embracing Friday as a particular day of penance, including the possible re-institution of abstinence on all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent." (excerpt from Cardinal Timothy Dolan's Address to the USCCB Nov 12, 2012)    For now,  let us pray that we will persevere in our penitential observances that we will end up spiritually renewed.  With these spiritual exercises, especially if performed with the love of God in our hearts, we hope to renew our baptismal promises and celebrate the Easter joy being born anew!                                      

Christ, King of the Universe, King of our Hearts!

Three important events happening this weekend:  The Solemnity of Christ, King of the Universe, Our King, The Culmination of the Year of Mercy, and our Stewardship Commitment Sunday!  Three events that cannot be separated from each other.

The Solemnity of Christ the King was declared by Pope Pius XI on December 11, 1925 in his encyclical “Quas Primas” which means “In the first.”  While the kingship has been revealed to us throughout the Scriptures from the Old Testament to the New Testament, and has been embraced by Christians from early times up to the present, yet, every now and then forces of evil seems to corrupt the attitude of many believers that necessitates the declaration of this festivity!  Pope Pius XI said  “…these manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations…” (Quas Primas, Introduction)

With Christ the King we are reminded to be subject to God’s rule, not in the rule of man.  It was adherence to this truth that many of our Christian brothers and sisters were martyred in their faith.  Subjection to the reign of Christ means that we accepted Christ as our law-giver, our judge, and the Chief Executive Himself.  The great difference in the law of Christ is that His is a law of love.  As our judge, the most supreme of all supreme courts, His judgment is based on mercy and clemency although divine justice is assured at the final judgment.  With the faith and hope of God’s mercy, we end this year of mercy.  But because Christ is an eternal King, His mercy endures forever (Psalm 136).  As an executive, He has given us the Gospel imperatives: to love God, to love our neighbor and to show our obedience to His commands in our works and actions!

Hopefully, “…the annual and universal celebration of the feast of the Kingship of Christ will draw attention to the evils which anticlericalism has brought upon society in drawing men away from Christ, and will also do much to remedy them. While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim his kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm his rights.” (QP, No. 25)

Finally, as we recognize Christ as our God and King, we renew once more our Stewardship Commitment.  We pay taxes to our country as an obligation, but we share our time, talent, and treasure with love, not out of obligation, but of gratitude of God’s great mercy and goodness He has showered unto us!  May all of us, enthrone Christ as King of our hearts, show His mercy as we have been shown mercy, and share His blessings of time, talent, and treasure as we are blessed by Him!  For the greater glory of God, Amen!

God bless you all!  Fr. Roger

 

My Mission Trip Experience

Medical Mission at Isla Bonitapdf My Mission Trip Experience (4.66 MB)

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Fr. Roger is excited to share his thoughts via this page of our parish website, Pastor's Corner. Stay tuned for more goodness.