A few weeks ago I had the chance to escape from Buffalo for eight days on vacation. I had the opportunity to meet up with a good friend who is a priest in a church near St. Louis. Both of us needed the time away. Just being off the expectations of my calendar, a silenced cell phone, the break in my normal routine, not to mention new experiences, all worked together to usher in a time of refreshment and recreation. This weekend’s lesson from the Gospel of Mark speaks of Jesus’ “time away” before he was to begin His ministry. The location was the desert. I guess it wasn’t a destination vacation but more a “retreat” from family and friends. The scripture describes it as lasting “forty days” which in Biblical language means the perfect amount of time. It was after this time of “soul searching” and discernment that Jesus emerges and begins His ministry. "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel" Mark 1:15. Each year the church gives us a similar opportunity which we name “Lent.” Not counting Sundays, the Lord’s Day, it lasts for forty days and forty nights. It too is an opportunity for all of us to “retreat” and engage in disciplined and restorative activities that will enable us to remember God’s covenant of love with us. Just like the rainbow in the sky reminded all of the covenant God made with Noah, so each year the Holy Season of Lent is a sign reminding us to give some time to God to refresh and renew us. This Holy Season challenges us to be intentional disciples of Jesus; not just following the crowd but following Him who loves us and wishes to live and move and have being within us. May the Lord Jesus guide and direct your Lenten time of rededication. May you accept the challenges of your particular “desert experience.” As we were encouraged on Ash Wednesday, “Repent and believe in the Gospel;” the Good News of Jesus.
2018 LENTEN CHALLENGE: CHRISTIAN SABBATH RESTORATION Gone are the days when the society around us would support and embrace Sunday as a “day of rest” from work, shopping, etc. The drive for more profit in our capitalistic society has eroded that practice and most of us Christians just fell into line with the societal expectation. When given the challenge to be a “sign that is opposed” we just agreed and jumped at the chance to be “like everyone else.” As Pastor of our three parishes I’m challenging us all to attempt to “Restore the Christian Sabbath.” With discussion with our family members let us make an agreement to reclaim some part of this lost value. This may mean: shopping for food or gasoline, washing one’s car, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, finishing some homework for school, running to the pharmacy, and cutting the grass, when applicable, on other days. So what are we to do with our newly found time? We begin by worshiping together at Mass and maybe inviting portions of our family to gather each week during Lent for a Sunday meal. It may mean taking some additional time for prayer such as: praying the rosary together as a family, a visit for Adoration of the Holy Eucharist at Nativity from 12Noon to 4:45PM, a visit to the chapels at the Dominican or Carmelite sisters in Buffalo, or even a visit to the Abbey of the Genesee for 5:30PM Sunday Evening Prayer. It may also include a fun family activity such as a walk in Delaware Park or time spent together at another activity. Some of us may have to work on the Christian Sabbath but spending what time we may have together is a value worth pursuing. Will you accept the challenge?
UPON THIS ROCK which many of us have engaged with last year has yielded its first year of benefits. Last June, monies that were directed back to our parish were redirected to our last year’s contribution to the Catholic Charities appeal. This past January, a direct deposit of $4,954.06 was made into our operations account. This funding has been dedicated, as agreed upon, to our “Roof Loan Repayment.” Thank you one and all for your dedication to Upon This Rock and to the ongoing support of our family in faith as well.
LENTEN LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON FOR YOU CONFESSIONS will take place at St. Martin de Porres each Wednesday of Lent from Feb 21st to March 29th from 5:00-7:00PM. Confessions will be heard in the Reconciliation Room and Adoration of the Holy Eucharist will take place at the same time in the Chapel. Come and spend some quality time with the Lord and receive restoration for our lives.
LENTEN ADORATION OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST will take place each Lenten Sunday from 12Noon to 4:45PM at our sister parish of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Come and share some time in prayer and adoration.
LENTEN LEAVE THE LIGHT ON FOR YOU: CONFESSIONS will take place at Nativity each Wednesday of Lent from Feb 21st to March 28th 5:00-7:00PM in the Church. Come and take advantage of this time to learn from our failures and receive healing and restoration for our lives.