THE FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
A lot of people, especially kids, give up candy for Lent – and then devour it at Easter till their stomachs almost burst. I read a story online about a father who wanted to urge his kids to move beyond just giving something up for Lent. He encouraged them to make a real change in their lives, start doing something good and turn away from bad habits. His son decided that he was going to stop fighting with his brothers and sisters. Commendable! A couple of weeks into Lent the father asked his son how things were going with what he had decided to DO for Lent. He said, “I’m doing pretty good, Dad…but boy, I can’t wait till Easter.”
So what are you doing for Lent this year? How are you living out the 40 days; by being more prayerful, by fasting or offering alms? Here are some activities that are happening in our parish which you might like to consider in order to live out this Lenten journey and uniting yourself more closely with Christ.
Each Friday during Lent, the parish hosts either a Knights of Columbus Fish Fry (Feb 16, Mar 2 &16 at 5:00 pm) or a Lenten Supper (Feb 23, Mar 9 & 23 at 5:30 pm). This is a great opportunity to come together as a parish community, allowing others to serve us as their Lenten sacrifice. After we fill our stomachs, we will pray the Stations of the Cross in the Church at 7:00 pm. One of my most favorite devotions, especially during Lent, is to pray the Stations, to truly meditate and walk the path of Christ to Calvary, helping to see the sacrifice He gave for our salvation, also helping us join our own sacrifices to His. Following Stations we are going to have a ten minute witness from a member of our parish on how they carry the crosses that are in their lives. This past Friday, Deacon Roger Heidt gave us a wonderful reflection, allowing us an opportunity to enter into the sacrifices his family has made. In turn, it helped us to understand and even more easily accept our own crosses.
There are many other opportunities we have during Lent that can assist us in our Lenten observance of fasting, prayer and almsgiving. Each week, St. Lambert Parish offers 24 hours of Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It is a time to sit before our Lord in prayer, recalling the words of Jesus to His disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?” Maybe you could stop in sometime on Thursday and be with our Lord? On March 3rd, our parish has volunteered to pray in front of Planned Parenthood from 7 am to 7 pm in conjunction with 40 Hours for Life – praying that all mothers and fathers will choose life for their unborn child. We pray that this sacrifice of time that we make would help show the love Christ has for those parents and give them a heart that chooses life. Lastly, we have the opportunity during Lent to give more of our treasures. Weekly in our bulletin we see the shortfalls that occur in helping to keep the parish running, as well as recognizing the needs of many of our school children who need financial assistance. Maybe this Lent, we decide to use the money we are saving and direct it to help others—like for me in giving up Starbuck’s coffee.
In our opening prayer today at Mass we ask our Lord to help us “grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct pursue their effects.” Take the opportunities that we offer here at the parish to truly know Christ more deeply, especially His great sacrifice. This will encourage us to accept and offer our own sacrifices during these 40 days.
God Bless You…Fr. Young