Third Sunday of Lent: Prayers of the Faithful

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March 24, 2019

Prayers of the Faithful

Let us pray to plant our lives deeply into the mystery of God’s mercy during this Lenten season. May we prune away sin and pride to reveal our hope in Christ Jesus.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for people struggling in any addiction, that they may bear the fruit of sobriety and honesty. May we seek God’s fidelity when we feel lost and forgotten.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray that we may plant hope deeply into our hearts. May we be given a second chance to find new life and goodness in the midst of life’s deepest conflicts.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us lift up to God the ill and fragile and all who are bowed down from cancer, loneliness and depression. May every disease in our bodies and souls find healing in these Lenten days.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our good earth in springtime. May we learn a new respect for the buds of new life that spring up in our gardens and work together to have clean water and air across our globe.

We pray to the Lord

Let us pray for our deceased loved ones. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord

 

 

 

Third Sunday of Lent: Bulletin cover art and column

March 24, 2019 Bulletin Cover

Dear Followers of Jesus,

Luke 13:1-9 invites us to examine how God is changing our lives and giving us another chance. The tree in this gospel offers us an image of hope for our own lives as well as the Church.

In this Lenten season, I am so aware that I need another opportunity to grow deeper into the mystery of Jesus’ dying and rising in me. I need to be pruned. I need God to dig up the soil around my heart and offer me another opportunity to grow from his love, in his love and because of his love.

I am sure we all need this awareness as well. I believe with my entire heart that each of us needs another chance to find God’s love, the source and soil on which our lives grow and change in the world. Even when we resist life and hold grudges and remain active in our addictions and live behind our rough exteriors to protect ourselves from the world, I am confident that not many of us feel really good about our real selves. Sometimes, we just do not know how to access God, how to live differently in Him or even how to seek him in prayer.

Sometimes we live self-protective lives. We hide our secrets. We cannot admit our wrongs. We do not say that we need God because we do not want to look weak. We hide our tears and our emotions because the world will think less of us. We do not crack open our hearts lest others think we are not in complete control of our lives. We hide behind anger, fear and loneliness. We create a shell that will not be cracked by any thing or any one.

This is the image of the tree that has withered. It needs a second chance or maybe a third or fourth chance. It needs help to bloom, to give life and to recognize its place in the world. We are no different. We need to cultivate within our own lives a new desire for the Paschal Mystery, that is Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. In this Lent, we sit with all the ways in which our lives have withered. We examine our need for mercy and forgiveness. We reflect on our relationships and the ways in which we have pushed people away. We examine how we need God to support our lives in the Church and how the Church needs another chance to find its way into the Light.

Life sometimes does not bear the fruit we think it should. So often we grow angry and resentful about how life really is and that we did not get our way.  Lent is also an opportunity for us to find the truth of who we are in God. We grow more beautifully, more faithfully, more lovingly, when we finally rest our hearts in the soil of God’s forgiveness and mercy. Then we shall grow with hope, bloom with justice and become a tree that reaches toward heavenly light.

With peace,

Fr. Ron

Sunday Lenten Vespers 2019: Litany of Intercession

Version 2

 

Response: O God, keep us from fear

 

Reveal your loving voice to your people…

Reveal your mercy among our families in this Lenten season…

Reveal your tenderness in our prayer and fasting…

 

Heal our nation and bring us peace…

Heal our divisions and end our wars and violence…

Heal our hungers and give food to the poor…

 

Run toward us and embrace the lost and forgotten…

Run toward us and open our lonely hearts…

Run toward us and accept our search for hope…

 

Help us put down the stones of blame and mistrust…

Help us put down the stones we cast toward strangers…

Help us put down the stones we cast toward sinners…

 

Keep us from fear…

Keep us from hatred and violence…

Keep us in your love and forgiveness…

 

Second Sunday of Lent: Prayers of the Faithful

Version 2

March 17, 2019

Second Sunday of Lent

Let us clear our ears of violent words and the sounds of blame, condemnation, and criticism. Instead, let us listen to the subtle, tender voice of Christ Jesus in this Lenten season.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us climb the mountain of faith where the clear vision of forgiveness of Christ Jesus shines through our human faults and foibles. May we live in the Lord’s presence forever.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray that we may listen to our children who struggle with thoughts of suicide or self-mutilation and cutting, and are tormented by negative peer pressure. May our communities form our children into people of love.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us hear the people who cry out in pain, those who feel abandoned by our society of privilege, and those who never received acceptance and love as children.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our children and grandchildren who no longer believe in God or the Church. We pray that their path on the mountain of this life may bring them to surrender to the peace only God can give.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for the deceased members of our communities and families. In this Mass…

Second Sunday of Lent: My cover art and column

March 17, 2019 Bulletin Cover

Dear Believers in the Christ,

On this Second Sunday of Lent, Luke 9:28B-36 takes us to a mountaintop for the Transfiguration. Our perspective has radically changed from the desert. Here we see a vision of who Jesus is and who he will become. Jesus finds his place among the prophets and he becomes a vision in white for the disciples.

The disciples are overwhelmed at the sight of Jesus’ appearance. They think this might be the end of the road where his work might now be accomplished. However, even more things happen. The Father’s voice from heaven declares Jesus to be his son. The voice of the Father tells the disciples to listen to Jesus because he will lead them far beyond this mountaintop.

In the Transfiguration moment, everything changes. However, the real moment will take place on another mountain, which is Calvary. On that mountain Jesus will die and that act will really transform everything. In this Lenten season, we capture a scene that is also for our lives. In believing in Christ Jesus, we are linked to the Trinity. Jesus has much authority to transfigure our lives as well.

In Lent, through prayer, fasting and almsgiving, our lives are transfigured. We become more in line with Jesus, his words and role as Messiah. We are invited to discover him more intimately; to stay with him as the disciples desired to do when they saw his white clothing. Lent draws us into this love, into his forgiveness and mercy as the Son of the Father.

We all may have many excuses not to follow him. We don’t like change. We are comfortable enough in our faith with only Sunday attendance at Mass. We don’t want to give up control. We hoard power and relish our prestige. We think if we let go of such things we will be left with nothing. Our egos seldom desire such change because we fear being destroyed or annihilated. However in faith, all things are made new and all doubt, discouragement and displeasure shall become filled with forgiveness and grace.

Yet, the disciples show us that real change can happen. When we let go of our control we listen to and hear the voice of the Father and we are challenged to move away from the comfortable into an even more genuine following of Christ Jesus. In order to truly follow Christ, the path to Calvary will be inevitable. The letting go in our Lenten season will show us that God is God and we are not.

There are many things that need to be changed in Lent. We need to be rescued from our inaction toward the poor and pay more attention to the love God has for us all. We shall find our path toward forgiveness even when we are the obstacles. We shall find our lives within the company of the prophets who even know our names. We ultimately become more deeply aware that we are sinners, yet we are also redeemed in the dying and rising of Christ Jesus.

Blessings to you,

Fr. Ron