Jesus beat death when He rose from the grave; how will you respond?
“Is there an urgency in your life to testify to the good news of Jesus? Or are you just waiting until someone calls you to the witness stand? This week is a great opportunity for us to recommit ourselves during the Easter Season to be bold in our faith . . . to reach out to people, inviting people back to Church who haven’t been, or inviting people to Church who’ve never been.”
I was expecting something “more.” I mean, this was the new Pope’s first homily since his election. On Wednesday the world tuned in to see our new Pope Francis. On Thursday we got to hear him preach for the first time.
Pope Francis celebrated holy mass with the Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday and within minutes his homily was made available online.
The entire homily was only 537 words. It lasted less than five minutes. It was short and sweet . . . but it sure wasn’t easy.
There are so many things worthy of mention, but one of the coolest parts about being Catholic has to be the Tradition. We’re a Church built on a 2,000 year old foundation, y’all – with Christ, Himself, as our Founder and “cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:6).
There are a lot of opinions and conspiracy “theories” floating around about the next pope and the papacy, in general, these days. No doubt there is an author somewhere preparing to rewrite history, once again, in a best-seller telling us all about “what’s really happening” behind the closed doors of this papal election.
God doesn’t want you living your life looking back at your past, or anxious about the future. Today He wants to offer you love and mercy. And today He wants you to be present to Him and everyone around you.
One of the graces of Lent is that we’re able to look past our immediate wants, desires, and temptations. When we have a proper perspective that focuses on God, our hearts are transformed to desire Him instead of earthly things.
Picture it: You’re in a hurry. You’re focused on school or work or family or friends, where there are a thousand things going on. You stop “real quick” to eat in the middle of the day. Halfway through the meal – or a little while after – you remember it’s Friday. And it’s Lent! And that’s a burger in your stomach!! In the words of Homer Simpson, “D’oh!”
Lent is the Church’s ‘spiritual wake up call’ to us to prepare for Easter and to remind us that we need to die to ourselves. Dying to yourself means dying to your own selfish wants, pleasures, desires, etc., in order to better focus on what God wants for you in your life. Lent is a great time to re-prioritize.
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” – Hebrews 13:16
“Excuse me, you’ve got some dirt on your head.” Every year someone says that to me on Ash Wednesday. Maybe it has happened to you too. In the past it used to frustrate me, but in recent years I have come to see it as a great opportunity to evangelize, to share with someone about the most important person in my life: Jesus Christ.
Each of the three was given a special role in the Church. Peter was the “rock” on which Jesus would build His Church (Matthew 16:18-19). As every group needs a leader, someone to cast the deciding vote, so did the apostles and the bishops. Simon Peter, the fisherman, rose to the occasion. In his line are popes who become saints and popes who were less than saintly; yet every pope was given special authority by God to guide the Church for a time.
Sin is real. And so is slavery to sin. That’s why Lent is such a blessing from the Church. This season is a time when we can slowly turn back to God in order to fully celebrate Easter. Now is the time for sinners to become saints.