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1st Sunday in Lent - March 1, 2020

Dear friends,

A grand mother was chatting with her little grandson, sharing with him the memories of her time. One thing she was so proud of was her faith and all that surrounded it. One day she calls her grandson and starts the new story.

Johnny, you know, of the entire time of the church, there is one that I detest and another that I really love. – What is it, grandma? Johnny asked. – Christmas and Lent, she says. Christmas is a very good time in the Church. We have carols, light everywhere, and above all Santa. Don’t you like Santa, Johnny? she asked her grandson. – Sure grandma, Johnny replied. I adore Santa. He always brings me presents and fulfills my wishes.

Well, says grandma, but there always is a downside to that. I detest Christmas because I spend too much on gifts and presents. Johnny replied, but grandma, is not Christmas all about Jesus who is born and the joy he brings to us? – Yeah, says grandma, but that Jesus always comes with too much expenses and spending. I wish there were no Christmas at all. Jesus could be born without Christmas… Little Johnny was in disbelief and sad.

Then, being aware of her grandson’s feelings about Christmas, grandma brought the bright side of her story. – But you know, Johnny, there is another time that I really cherish. I cannot wait for it to come. – What is it, grandma? asked Johnny. – It is Lent, honey. Of the three requirements of this season, namely Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving, it is Fasting that I like the most. With the Fasting requirement, I really save a lot. I give up chocolate, wine, cheese, even some of the stuff for my makeup… When Lent comes, I very seldom go to Publix, and I save a lot. You see, Johnny, Lent should always come. Do not you like to have money? – Johnny said, yeah, grandma, I want to be rich. – Then, wait for Lent to come, she advised.

Here is Lent. On this first Sunday of Lent we are given the opportunity to reflect on the journey we are called to undertake with the Lord as He draws us to the desert with Him. Forty Days of renewal, that is God’s gift to us for our union with Him. The three traditional focus of Lenten observances are Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. They are meant to help us embrace the spirit of love that enables us to be Christ like. Reference to them only as remembrance of the time would bear the risk of sinking in the routine. Would you make this Lenten season a time you improve your prayer life by giving to God an extra time.  You may choose to attend more frequently the Morning Mass or spend more time with the Eucharistic Lord in adoration. You may want to reconcile Fasting and Almsgiving for the two are inseparable…, for we observe Fasting in order to give, not to save for ourselves.

As we strive to respond to the call of the Lord to travel with Him in the desert, let continue to pray for one another and for our parish family.

Fr. Emery

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