Forgive and You Will be Forgiven Week - Ash Wednesday

(March 2, 2022)

Bottom line: The penitential practices - prayer, fasting and almsgiving - will help open our hearts to Jesus - and his basic call: Forgive and y0ur will be forgiven. Amen

Welcome to Lent. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has asked us to dedicate this day to fasting and prayer for peace in Ukraine. The minimum fast today is to abstain from meat and to avoid snacks between meals. If you forgot and had bacon and eggs or a hamburger, you can make it up. More about that in the homily.

The prophet Joel gives our basic program for Lent: Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. We human beings tend to drift along until something catches our attention. That happened a few days ago when Russia invaded Ukraine. All of a sudden it became clear we are in very dangerous world. At the same time we saw the heroism of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters.

Vladimir Putin commands weapons deployed only once - when we dropped atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Today's nuclear weapons are magnitudes more powerful. At the beginning of the nuclear age, someone asked C.S. Lewis what he would do if an atomic were falling. He said he would look up and say, "Phew! You’re just an atom bomb. I am an immortal soul!"

I doubt I would be so calm, but all of do have the chance to heed Joel's words: Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. St. Paul puts it even more urgently:

"Brothers and sisters: We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."

You may know that during Lent we are following this theme: "Forgive and you will be forgiven." For sure, other people have offended us. As we saw last Sunday, those offenses can be understand as debts. That's why we sometimes pray "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." I gave the example of time I was robbed. The thief not only stole my wallet and my money, but he also took away my peace mind, my dignity and my honor. If we were going to be reconciled he would have to acknowledge his debt to me. At the same time, I have to recognize I have a debt I can no way repay. We're going to see more about that debt during Lent, especially when we get to Holy Week.

For today I ask you to consider the three penitential practices: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Look at our Lenten calendar for times of Mass, Confessions, Eucharistic Adoration and Stations of the Cross. I'll be sending out suggestions via Flocknotes, for example, the Rosary for Peace in Ukraine. For almsgiving we have, for example, Catholic Relief Services, which works directly with the Church in Ukraine and other countries. I'll have more about this in the bulletin. Consider some form of a Daniel Fast on Tuesdays and Fridays of Lent. In addition to meat, abstain from other savory foods such as sweets, bread, fried food, cheese, eggs and alcohol. Instead, make meals of fruit, vegetables, grains, oil, seeds, nuts, poached fish and legumes.

The penitential practices - prayer, fasting and almsgiving - will help open our hearts to Jesus - and his basic call: Forgive and y0ur will be forgiven. Amen


From Archives (Ash Wednesday Homilies):

Wake-up Call for the Soul
Fighting ADD
Finding Hope When Life Hurts
Best Lent Ever: Even Now
First Things
New Mind and Heart
Go to Your Inner Room
Return to Me
The Purpose of Lent
Two Cheers for Catholic Guilt
Don't Waste This Crisis
When You Give Alms
Back to the Basics
Dealing With Guilt
Exercise of Holy Desire

Homilies for First Sunday of Lent ("Temptation Sunday"):

2020 (Year A): Immersed in the Scriptures
2019 (Year C): Him Alone
2018 (Year B): Finding Hope When Life Hurts Week 1: Boundaries
2017 (Year A): Best Lent Ever: Prayer Changes Everything
2016 (Year C): First Things: Prayer
2015 (Year B): New Mind and Heart Week 1
2014 (Year A): Prayer and Spiritual Combat Week 1
2013 (Year C): Do Not Talk to the Devil
2012 (Year B): The Convenant with Noah Today
2011 (Year A): The Purpose of Temptation
2010 (Year C): Who Is Like God?
2009 (Year B): Knee Mail
2008 (Year A): The Devil is a Logician
2007 (Year C): More Powerful than Satan
2006 (Year B): Sir, Go on the Other Side
2005 (Year A): The Temptation of Sloth
2004 (Year C): Temptation of Spirituality
2003 (Year B): Lent with C.S. Lewis
2002 (Year A): First Signs of Spring
2001 (Year C): How Satan Operates
2000 (Year B): The Rabbit's Foot
1999 (Year A): Original Sin & Temptation
1998 (Year C): Hidden Sin of Gluttony
1997 (Year B): Jesus' Temptation & Ours

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Kurt Nagel
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

Parish Picture Album


MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru