Fr. Rick’s Pastoral Messages 3/6/22

Lenten Season:  Remember that all Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence from meat for all Catholics 14 years of age and older.

Immediate Aid for Ukraine Refugees:  See Catholic Relief Services.

Synod on Synodality – We are very near the start of our listening sessions for the Synod.  Remember, the main idea is not so much for me to listen to you (although I will be closely) but more so that you listen to each other.  Let each other know what your concerns are regarding the Church and what you want from each other.  Again, please review the questions on the St. Christopher’s website (scroll down until you find them).

The first set of sessions for the first question will be held in the social hall on:

Thursday, March 10 at 1:30 PM and Sunday, March 13, after the 9:00 Mass

The second set of sessions for the second question will be on:

Thursday, March 24, at 1:30 PM and Sunday, March 27, after 9:00 Mass.

If you choose not to attend a live session you can share your thoughts and concerns by filling out a comment sheet that will be provided soon.

This week, please choose which question you would like to address at the first session and which question would you like to address at the second session.  Please see the link on the St. Christopher’s website for a copy of the questions and a comment sheet.  There are also a few hard copies in the gathering space.  This Sunday (and during the week) I will once again ask everyone to sign your name on a sign-up sheet and indicate which session you will attend and which question you would like to address.  I will then choose the most popular question to be discussed at the various sessions.  Also recall that at the second sessions you may offer a question of your own making.

Spring Ahead:  Daylight Savings Time begins at 2:00 AM on March 13.

Fasting as a way of Life and Solidarity

Fr. Stephen Porter, in his commentary on today’s gospel suggested that the three temptations experienced by Jesus in the desert were: personal satisfaction; presumption of God; personal pride and glory.  These could all provide very helpful reflections for the Lenten season.

In light of world events and the general sense of our growing confusion about the future, perhaps the first element of personal satisfaction might be a great start.  Jesus went into the desert to fast and listen to the Spirit.  His life was going to change dramatically as He began His public ministry.  His world and everybody else’s was about to change dramatically.  How and when and how fast was a big question mark, and Jesus would have most assuredly drawn heavily from the words of today’s psalm (91), “Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble”

Fasting is ultimately about emptying ourselves of our own desires and satisfactions.  As the Ash Wednesday service reminded us, ‘we are dust and unto dust we shall return.’  We are mortal.  We are NOT God.  Hence, our own plans and goals and appetites are very often far removed from God’s plan for our lives.  We distract ourselves and often each other with all of our own plans and priorities; missing God’s fuller, more personal presence.  The tragic outcome is that we are always lacking in satisfaction and train ourselves to settle for so much less than God intends for us.

Our sanctuary display shows the rocks which the devil tempted Jesus to turn to bread.  We also feature in our display the bread which He avoided.  Despite the severe craving He must have had after 40 days of fasting, he trusted that the Father in Heaven had in mind something much more powerful and satisfying than mere basic human food.  In uncertain times especially, we are reminded to hold fast to the Word and guidance of God for all our future plans and expectations.  Are we going for the ‘bread’ or trusting in God?

Fasting is also a way of staying in solidarity with all the hungry people throughout the world:  Those who are physically starving, those starving for peace and safety, those starving for meaning and purpose.  During Lent we should make room for God’s plan for our lives, especially in the different ways we are called to feed the most desperate people in the world.

Homily Reflection Questions

How do we know we are really open to God’s plan (for the world) in our lives? What might we be using as a distraction from God’s desires?  With what are we filling our time and attention?  How well does it satisfy?