First Sunday of Lent – 02.18.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“Beloved, Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit…This prefigured baptism, which saves you now… ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.’”

Lent, often described as a journey, is the opportunity for all to come closer to the Lord. In a baptismal sermon, Peter tells us that the suffering of Christ, which we recall during these days of prayer, has but one purpose: to lead us to God. It is not what I do, but the work of the Lord bringing me on my desert journey. The gospel tells us Jesus was led by the Spirit for His desert experience to announce that the kingdom is at hand.

Sue & Ron D. with Himself

God’s word spoke of a special moment in time, a moment which speaks to me today. Lent is that special time for me to meet the Lord in a new and different way. Through the threefold steps of prayer, sacrifice and good works, the kingdom becomes more present for me.

My journey began on Ash Wednesday. Be honest, where is the Spirit leading you?

“Above all, I urge the members of the Church to take up the Lenten journey with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting and prayer. If, at times, the flame of charity seems to die in our own hearts, know that this is never the case in the heart of God! He constantly gives us a chance to begin in loving anew” (Pope Francis’ Lenten Message, 2018)… Let us pray for one another and our parish during these Lenten days of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, asking the Lord for a “conversion of heart, a new heart” like the heart of Jesus who in His great love and mercy suffered and died for us. May God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Listen to my homily today: (Posted after Sunday Mass.)

Joyfully in the Lord,

Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

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