On this Lord’s Day, the season of Lent begins in earnest. The liturgy for the First Sunday of Lent is always marked by the proclamation of the story of Jesus’ Temptation in the wilderness by Satan – this year from the Gospel of Saint Luke. Today also begins the final journey of those we have called “catechumens” as they have actively prepared with our community of faith to receive
the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist). Following the parish’s Rite of Sending at today’s 9:00 a.m. Mass, Bishop Estévez will formally call
them to the Easter Sacraments and they will then be known as “the Elect.”
Lent brings about a more serious mood and tone in the Church. We know we are sinners, and this past week on Ash Wednesday many were marked with blessed ashes as the visible reminder that we are called to conversion of life. The Gospel of our Savior is to be our primary nourishment and resource for moving away from our sins, learning to not yield to the ploys of the devil and
reclaiming, with God’s grace, the new life we were given in Baptism. For the Elect, as they use these next several weeks to prepare for the reception of Baptism, we are to be their role models. Yes, we are sinners; but we are also ones who know the great Mercy of God and that no matter how many times we have sinned, God loves the one with a humble and contrite heart(see Psalm 51:17).
Use these first weeks of Lent to begin a serious examination of conscience so that, as we get into the final weeks of Lent, we who are already baptized will be ready to make a good confession of our sins and receive forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance. And, as we journey with the Elect, we can rejoice in the new life of Christ given them in the Easter Sacraments.
Love, Father Tom