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Lent

Lenten Reflection 2017: Second Sunday of Lent

Lenten Reflection 2017: Second Sunday of Lent

Our first Scripture passage on this 2nd Sunday of Lent tells the story of the call of Abram. Abram is told to leave the land of his birth, trust God and travel into the unknown—“to a land that I will show you.” His is part of a broader story, found throughout the Bible, of movement and change as people and nations grow, mix, take on various characteristics and new relationships are formed. This is the gift of community. For example, in the Old Testament, the people of Israel, including Abram, find themselves wandering and sojourning in many places. In the midst, Israel is told to remember the sojourners and treat them with justice and compassion, as their own ancestors had been in the same situation. And in the New Testament, Jesus, the incarnate God, became a refugee while still an infant, fleeing with his parents to Egypt to escape Herod’s wrath.  As an adult, Jesus became an itinerant preacher, wandering with his disciples from place to place, living at times by gleaning from fields those extras that the ancient law ordered left for such sojourners.  The culture and history of the people of the Bible led to the presence of a stranger being seen as an opportunity—an opportunity to let God lead them into new relationships. Hospitality was the norm as was the sharing of one’s home and resources with strangers or sojourners. But it was also much more than that.  Hospitality was an attitude of the heart, out of which such generous actions naturally flowed. This is the radical hospitality to which Jesus calls us. He calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves, including those we might otherwise stereotype as enemies. While this active, inclusive hospitality involves significant costs and risks, Jesus asks us to accept those as part of the cost of discipleship. However, we ought not to do it out of fear, but out of the love that drives out fear. 

Reflection Question:

This Lent, who is the stranger whom God calling me to welcome into my heart? 

Prayer:

Lord, help me to courageously love the foreigner, sojourner, and even the enemy. Trusting in you, I am willing to let you lead me into new relationships.

Lenten Reflection 2017- First Sunday of Lent

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Lenten Reflection 2017- First Sunday of Lent

First Sunday of Lent

We are often tempted by indifference.  What day goes by without news reports of refugees in crises, immigration turmoil, crime in our cities near and far…the list goes on.  What can we do to avoid being caught up in this distress and powerlessness?  

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Stations of the Cross

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Stations of the Cross

By Steve DeLaney, Asst. Director of Evangelization

The Stations of the Cross are a traditional way of meditating on the passion of Jesus, and are often prayed during the Lenten season. The faithful follow Jesus as he carries his cross, using a guided prayer and stopping before images of the Stations in the church. There are many variations on the Stations, and their beginnings are not known. Early Christian legend held that Mary walked the final steps of her son each day in Jerusalem. As early as the 3rd century, visitors to Bethlehem and Jerusalem were praying along sacred sites. The practice of the Stations, as we know it, really grew out of the political conflicts between European Christianity and the expanding Muslim empire across the north of Africa. The Holy Land was no longer easily accessible for Christians on pilgrimage from Europe, and so local shrines were developed, where the faithful could travel along “stations” and pray with Jesus on his journey to the cross. This tradition eventually developed 14 stations, which are found on the walls of Catholic churches today.

For centuries, Catholics have found deep solace in journeying with Christ in the Stations of the Cross. There are many written versions of the prayer, from St. Louis de Montfort’s classic version, to stations written about contemporary issues of justice, and stations written by Popes. Artists find the fourteen images of Jesus on the “Via Dolorosa” deeply compelling, and have blessed us with powerful images of suffering and grace. In Poland, the Catholic Church commissioned a series of Stations to reflect upon the suffering inflicted upon Poland during WWII and Soviet rule until the late 1980s. Built outdoors and sculpted in life size, the stations depict Jesus accompanied by the heroes and martyrs of the Polish church. It is a vivid display of how the Catholics in Poland saw Christ in their suffering. An example, seen here, shows the young priest Jerzy Popiełuszko, who was martyred by the communist regime.  He is placed in the sixth station as Simon of Cyrene, who carries the cross while Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

Another recent example of a beautiful Stations of the Cross is by contemporary artist Virginia Maksymowicz. She created relief images in white plaster using the real faces and limbs of living people, giving a powerful meditation on the reality of the incarnation, and Jesus’ very human suffering. Of particular beauty is her image of Mary, the mother of Jesus, when she meets her son on the way of the cross (the fourth station). The image carries such grief, and such love.

We invite you to consider praying the Stations of the Cross this Lent. We offer several opportunities (details below), and we hope that you will explore this ancient and sacred prayer. 


STATIONS OF THE CROSS at ICC

Enter into prayer with the Stations of the Cross led on most occasions by Dave Reeves (Diocesan Diaconate Formation program), and others as noted. There are multiple opportunities to attend throughout Lent:

Mon, Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m.

Mon, Mar 7 at 6:30 p.m.

Wed, Mar 16 at 9:00 a.m.

Fri, Mar 18 at 7:00 p.m.*

Fri, Mar 25 at 3:00 p.m.**

*Led and reenacted by the Senior Youth Group.

**Good Friday Stations led by Fr. Prince.

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Lenten Priorities

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Lenten Priorities

By Cass Hooker, Director of Evangelization

Why Lent

Our observance of Lent takes us on the journey to our greatest celebration in our liturgical year, Easter.  We are called by the Church to a spirit of repentance and reflection about our Baptism and the promises we made or were made for us at our Baptism.  Our catechumen (those journeying to Baptism at the Easter Vigil) are also continuing their steps in the midst of this parish toward the paschal mystery.  Lent may be described as a season of endings and beginnings as we celebrate the mystery of the Cross on which Jesus died and the wonder of beginnings through resurrection and eternal life. Author, Matthew Kelly asks,” Do you need a fresh start?”  Kelly’s prompt to us, “Jesus is the ultimate new beginning”.

Jesus is the ultimate new beginning
— Matthew Kelly, "Rediscover Jesus"

Priorities

All of us have, at one time or another, named certain things as our priorities. From time to time, when we become aware of our not doing something that is really important, we say, "I have to make that a priority." Lent is an important time to do a top-to-bottom review of what we value and what we actually do in our everyday lives. Whenever we do this, we always discover that something needs re-aligning. We discover that there are values we hold, commitments we've made, growth we desire, that simply don't make it on the list of our "actual priorities" - that is, the things that take the "first place" in our lives. For example, I might say, "My family is my first priority!" My family might say otherwise. I might say, "My faith is among my top priorities." But, an honest self-examination may show otherwise. I may say, I hear the words of Jesus that we will be judged really on only one thing: how we care for "the least" of his sister and brothers. I may only occasionally even notice that feeding, clothing, caring for or defending the marginal never makes it to my priority list.

Examen

A thorough review of what is most important to us, and what seems to be important to us by virtue of what we actually do, is prime Lenten activity.  If what we are hoping to do during Lent is to grow in personal freedom, based upon our growing sense of God's love for us, and our clearer vision of who we are, and our deepening desire to be more closely aligned with the heart of Jesus, then we will want to do this personal review very carefully.  How else might we ever hope to get to a heroic, courageous, self-sacrificing service of others?  What chance will care of the poor ever have of making it into our priorities?  How will we ever be able to break old self-defeating habits and secure the establishment of new ones that help us be who we want to actually be?

A thorough review of what is most important to us, and what seems to be important to us by virtue of what we actually do, is prime Lenten activity.

So when we may be considering what we will do for Lent; or considering what we may want to give up during these forty days, let’s look deeply into our priorities and see with Lenten eyes and eyes on Jesus where and how we spend our time and our treasure.  What better time to realign our priorities than this Lent.  

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