My Dear Parishioners,
This week is the Second Sunday in Lent and is also known as "Transfiguration Sunday" because the gospel relates the story of that event. It is important to note that in Biblical theology, places such as mountains, or numbers, play a significant role in understanding the significance of the event taking place. For example, in the Scriptures when a person goes up a mountain, the reader immediately knows that an important event is about to take place. Thus, Moses went up the mountain to receive the 10 commandments, Jesus goes onto a mountain and the "Sermon on the Mount" takes place. Today, Jesus takes some of the apostles to a mountain and He is "Transfigured" before their eyes – Moses and Elijah appear. Immediately the reader should connect this event with Moses and the 10 commandments – Moses the Old Covenant, Jesus the New Covenant – and of course God gives His approbation to both events.
Numbers also play a significant role in understanding the scriptures – thus for example the seven days of the original creation are connected to the seven sacraments (the new creation), the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, etc. The Forty Days of Lent are pre-figured by the Israelites’ 40 years of wandering in the desert. Hence our tradition of observing Forty Days of Lent. The numbers in these and other cases are not seen or to be taken literally but are to be taken and understood in a symbolic way. The 40 days of Lent are seen not as a strict accounting of days beginning with 1 and ending with 40, but are to be seen in the Biblical context as a process and time period for penance, renewal and increased prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
In this context, as we continue our journey through this Holy Season, we are reminded that our time of Lenten practice and renewal is one complete and total journey of renewal. It is a journey in which we as persons and a faith community walk with Christ on His journey to the cross, death and resurrection.
This weekend we once again call our young children who are preparing for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion to "Bread Sharing," a process in which they ask for the prayers of our entire faith community and each asks one member of our community to be a prayer partner. This prayer partner receives a loaf of bread from our child candidate and promises to hold this child in daily prayer. Congratulations to our children and their parents who have been preparing for these two sacraments by faithful attendance at weekend liturgies and by working with their children at home so that they may be well prepared to receive these two wonderful Sacraments.
Lent is also a time to receive the Sacrament of Confession, and we will hold our Lenten Sacrament of Reconciliation on Wednesday, March 18th at 1 pm in the afternoon and at 7 pm in the evening. We have made arrangements for a number of visiting priests to be here to hear confessions. A "Confession Aid" will be available as you enter church to help you make your confession. Why not plan to go to confession, especially if it has been a long, long time since your last confession. You have no need to fear, no priest will ever embarrass you; instead you will find yourself in the loving presence of Jesus Christ our Lord who, through his priests, will welcome you and heal your soul.
"Oremus pro invicem"