Latest Reflection from Timothy Duff
I took my family to the Benedictine Monastery near us today and heard a great homily.
It really brought home how to apply my personal Lenten practice with Jesus leading us by example to fast and pray, the Gospel story tells how Our Lord is led into the desert for 40 days.
At today Mass' first reading, I thought of the rainbow standing for God's Covenant, which seems to be robbed of its value by our current society, and its original meaning: God's promise never to destroy the world again by water, my heart was filled with the desire to reclaim that for myself.
Let's take it back and place it in our own personal life stories. God's Second Covenant in the sacred scriptures has a special significance with our own baptism. I wonder what would happen if we Christian's had bumper stickers that said: "Take Back the Rainbow! God's Covenant!"
Are we courageous about our Catholic Faith?
Let's reflect on this week of Lent together.
Homily of Fr. Anthony Kloss, OSB
St. Benedict’s Abbey, Still River, MA
Today is the First Sunday of Lent. Today's Gospel (MK 1:12-15) tells of Jesus being driven into the desert and spending 40 days there fasting and facing temptations from Satan. We have followed Jesus into the waters of baptism and now it is time for us to follow Him into the desert.
The Lenten season is a time for us as Catholics to follow Our Lord's example and spend 40 days fasting. Which could mean, one full meal and the other two half of that, Choose prudently, what it is you will abstain from, as you want to perform the good work, so that our promises to God mean something. We don't want to be unprepared for Holy Week where Our Lord may need to say as He said to St. Peter, "Can't you stay awake this One hour." The extra prayers and penances that we take on, we choose freely, and we should see them as ways to follow Christ.
The Sundays of Lent, because of the Resurrection, are not counted as the tally of 40 days. The number 40 is recurring and significant in the Bible. The first reading today is the 2nd Covenant; during which it rained 40 days and 40 nights. Speaking to Noah and referring to the rainbow, God says that, "This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you.
The first covenant was with Adam and Eve. And now Jesus is seen as the new Adam, by being able to reconcile, renew all things by His eventual death upon the Cross. We use the 40 days to fight Satan and prepare, as Jesus did for His Passion and Resurrection.
Use these 40 days to pause and contemplate what are the areas in our lives that are tempting us and causing anxiety and unrest.
Lent is not just a season for fasting or depriving ourselves of desirable things, it is also the perfect time for almsgiving. And when you discover how you can perform acts of kindness or generosity, do so humbly. From Matthew 6: "Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you."
During His Ash Wednesday Homily this past week, Pope Francis referenced something that (Saint) Mother Teresa used to say, "if the fruit of faith is charity, the fruit of distrust is apathy and resignation; these are demons that deaden and paralyze the soul of a believing people."
Pope Francis state that 40 days of Lent are a time to reflect on, "anything that could dampen or even corrode our believing heart."
"The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and BELIEVE!"