Lent is a time for spiritual reflection and growth.  After Jesus was baptized, he retreated to the desert for 40 days.  He spent this time fasting and praying, all while being tempted by Satan.  Lent is a period of unity with Jesus and His time in the desert.  Just as Jesus prepared for His upcoming ministry and eventual crucifixion, so also do we prepare for Easter, one of the most important feasts in the Church.

The three pillars of Lent are: fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.  During His time in the desert, Satan tempted Jesus three times.  Each temptation is related to one of the three Lenten pillars.  The first temptation took aim at humanity’s most basic need – food.  Fasting for 40 days assuredly left Jesus weak with hunger.  Satan said, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (Matthew 4:3).  Jesus, however, could not be phased by Satan’s silver tongue and replied, “It is written, that Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Matthew 4:4).  Satan’s attempted assault on Jesus’ bodily senses had failed.  

Fasting and abstinence from meat help us understand Jesus’ words.  During Lent, Jesus calls us to resist earthly temptations and instead, seek the spiritual food provided by God and live by it.

For the second temptation, Satan tried to weaken Jesus’ spirit.  He took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and said, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Matthew 4:6).  Jesus did, in fact, have the protection of the angels and if He willed it, they would have saved Him.  But Jesus simply responded with a quote from Deuteronomy: “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (6:16).  Jesus would not willingly put Himself in danger and then call upon the Lord to save Him.  Such a thing would compromise His relationship with God.

Satan tempts us in the same way every day.  He leads us to a near occasion of sin and encourages us to commit that sin.  When we do, we often expect God to save us from the consequences.  Someone can cheat on his/her spouse for years and then expect God to save his/her marriage.  Basically, instead of jumping and asking God to rescue us, don’t jump.  Avoiding the near occasion of sin is difficult, but through prayer, we strengthen our resolve and in effect, our relationship with God.  Prayer should be the central focus of Lent because without it, Lent only becomes a test of willpower. 

The last temptation involved earthly glory and riches.  Satan gave Jesus a vision of all the world’s kingdoms and said to Him, “All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me” (Matthew 4:9).  Again, Jesus resisted.  He was to be the King of Kings, but only by dying on the Cross.  Satan offered an easy way out.  But Jesus remained humble and replied, “Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:10).

Often times, we compromise our relationship with God in pursuit of earthly pleasures and achievements.  The lure of power and prestige is difficult to ignore, but it is written, “The meek shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:4).  At the end of it all, what do we really want?  Eternal life with God in Heaven or a fleeting earthly life of glory and riches?  Almsgiving refers to an act of charity, which can come in the form of time, talent, or treasure.  Acts of charity produce humility and with humility, we can resist damaging our relationship with God at the expense of earthly pleasures just as Jesus did.

In recognizing and practicing these three pillars, we can have a fruitful Lent and become better Catholics at the end of it.

 

A GUIDE TO OUR EVENTS DURING LENT

We invite you to join us for these special Lenten events:

 

Stations of the Cross Fridays during Lent: 1pm in the Church

On Fridays during Lent, we remember Jesus’ walk to Golgotha with mediation. Benediction to follow.

 

Via Matris Wednesdays: After the 8am Daily Mass

The Via Matris or “The Way of the Mother” is similar to the Stations of the Cross. Instead, we meditate on the Seven Sorrows of Mary. This is a Servite tradition that has been practiced for centuries.

 

St. Joseph’s Spaghetti Dinner March 21, 2021: Drive-thru pick up only from 11am – 2pm

Around St. Joseph’s Feast Day, we honor Saint Joseph with a modest Lenten meal. It is a traditional Italian celebration of food, thanksgiving, and sharing. All monetary donations received are given to the poor.  This year, we are doing a drive-thru spaghetti dinner.  Only pre-orders will be accepted.  $25 per meal. Meal serves 2 and includes a bucket of spaghetti with freshly made pasta and sauce, meatballs and sausage, bread, and extra sauce. Boxes of assorted Italian cookies also available for $10 each.  Pre-order here.  Use the “St. Joseph Table Spaghetti” box to indicate how many orders you would like.  Pre-orders close on March 14th.
 

La Desolata March 26, 2021: 7pm in the Church

We commemorate the Seven Sorrows of Mary with music and meditations. The choir sings the Oratorio, composed exclusively for us by Jesuit Father A.S. Dimichino. This is a beautiful tradition among the order that staffs our parish – The Order of the Servants of Mary, otherwise known as the Servite friars.
 

Lenten Penance Service March 27, 2021: 3pm in the Church

In preparation for Jesus’ Resurrection and our baptismal renewal, we are offering a Lenten Penance Service. Catholics who have reached the age of discretion are required to confess their grave sins at least once a year per Canon 989. Private confession will also be available this day from 10AM – 1PM.

 

Daily Mass M-F, 1st and 2nd Saturdays of the month: 8am

Attending Mass is one of the best ways to transform our souls and heal our wounds. Receiving Christ in the Eucharist not only gives us strength to overcome sin, but it also helps us through the day. During the penitential season of Lent, Daily Mass is the perfect way to strengthen our relationship with God.