As we celebrate the Second Sunday of Lent, we come across the Gospel of Luke. The evangelist writes that Jesus took Peter, John and James and led them up to a high mountain to pray. The mountain was a very relevant place in the life of Jesus. Very important moments of Jesus’ life took place on a mountain. For instance, the mountain of his temptation, the mountain of his great preaching, the mountain of his prayer, the mountain of his agony, the mountain of the Cross, the mountain of the Risen Lord and the mountain of the Transfiguration.
The Transfiguration was a prayer event. It describes Jesus’ encounter with his father: “His face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.” The dazzling white garment is truly a symbol of our Baptism. Through Baptism we are clothed with Jesus, we receive his light and become more like him. For Jesus, the mountain was a place of encounter with God. and therefore, it was a place for prayer and worship, joy and suffering.
St. Patrick is our sacred place for prayers. It is like our mountain of prayer. The more we come to Church, the more our soul will shine, the more we become light with Christ, the more we know God and identify ourselves with Him. As we gather to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, my offering and your offerings, we pray that through the Lenten Season we may have a true conversion of mind and heart. We hope we can say, along with Peter, “Master it is good that we are here.” May our Lenten observances, prayer, almsgiving, fasting and abstinence direct our lives to Christ.
Dear Parish Community,
As we began our Lenten journey, we reassume the disciplines proper to the penitential season such as fasting, abstinence, increase of prayer, and generous almsgivings. Mother Church offers us these forty days of Lent as an invitation and an opportunity of spiritual renewal, to live more like Christ, and to be closer to Him. Here at St. Patrick Parish, Lenten season means Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings, Sacrament of Reconciliation, days of fasting and abstinence, Fish Frys and generous donations to the poor; keep in mind St. Patrick Parish Outreach, the ministry through which our parish reaches out to the needy among us.
It takes humility to recognize our human frailty and to approach God in the Sacrament of Confession. As we meditate on today’s Gospel, we learn about Jesus’ temptations in the desert. We tend to picture Jesus more with his divinity, and thinking about his temptations is something which rather surprises us. In the Creed we pray that He is true God from true God. We also pray that He was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man. The Divine God fully assumed our humanity.
The Gospel reports to us that Jesus was victorious over temptation. It also teaches us that He truly understands our human condition. God is not indifferent to the drama of fallen human nature. He is always willing to help us in temptation, to empower our will through his divine grace. With Him at our side, we can also be victorious over sin. And that, brothers and sisters, should be a message of hope for us all as we begin this lenten journey. God is willing to help us in our journey from sin to grace, from vice to virtue. Let us set our spiritual goal for Lent. With a strong will and with God’s grace, we will succeed. May God guide your Lenten journey.
Dear Parish Community,
Allow me to share today a letter written by Father Jonathan Bakkelund from the Diocesan Office of Divine Worship. It reads,
“The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has issued a decree at the express wish of His Holiness, Pope Francis. The Holy Father has made a change to the rubrics of the Roman Missal. Formerly, the Missal specified that at the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, it would be most fitting that those to have their feet washed would be males, a theological expression of the Institution of the Priesthood.
“Pope Francis has clarified the Church’s understanding of this gesture, namely, that it is an act of service reminding us all that Christ came to serve, not to be served, and that this gesture is not explicitly linked to the Institution of the Priesthood. Therefore, men and women may be chosen.
"The text specifically reads, ‘pastors may choose a group of faithful representing the variety and unity of every part of the People of God. This group may consist of men and women, and ideally of the young and the old, healthy and sick, clerics, consecrated persons and laypeople.’
Father Jonathan Bakkelund. “
Brothers and sisters, I am looking forward to Holy Thursday on March 24th, to celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper along with the washing of feet. That liturgical moment is indeed very symbolic and with a profound meaning. It expresses the fact that I, as your pastor, came to St. Patrick to serve the entire community; men, women, children, the youth, the adult and the elder.
May God bless us all,
Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.