Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Repent, and believe in the gospel."

Repent, and believe in the gospel."
Issue Date: March 1, 2009
First Sunday in Lent (L1B)

BURNING QUESTION: "What is Faith?"
FEATURED BLOG: What 's Noah's Ark have to do with Lent?
RECONCILIATION: The virtue of forgiveness and reconciliation
PASTORAL HISPANA: Podemos acompañar a Jesús en el desierto

Dear Friends,

We start our journey this week with Discussion Questions on the Sunday Readings for use by prayer groups or for individual prayer. It's the First Sunday of Lent and in the Gospel, Jesus goes out into the desert for forty days of fasting and prayer where he was tempted by Satan. The Readings also talk about Noah's Ark.

But what does Noah's Ark have to do with Lent? Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains that the great flood is a testament to God’s hatred of sin and determination to wipe it from the face of the earth. When Christ says, "Repent," in the Readings, Fr. James Gilhooley reminds us that the target of Christ for the next forty days is us.

The 40 days of Lent are really about loving Jesus according to Fr. Joseph Pelligrino. We fight off temptation with Him. We give Him our sins in confession. We do everything possible to allow His grace into our lives. Father Cusick says, "We fast as Jesus fasted; we pray as Jesus prayed." While Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B adds, "Pray as Jesus prayed if we hope to love God as He did."

"The world is a desert," says Fr. Alex McAllister. When we emerge from the desert we enter more fully into the presence of God and it will have all the beauty and more of the rainbow. And Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS offers that the next forty days are a blessed beginning.

WE CELEBRATE LENT. But just "What is Lent?" Fr. John Foley, S. J. explains for some of us who are not completely clear as to just why these weeks of preparation are there. And why does it cover all of forty days? Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains in "Forty Days of New Life."

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF LENT. "40 Ways to Get the Most out of Lent" is, of course, is not an exhaustive list of Lenten ideas. But it’s a start. The US Bishops are also offering resources on their Web site to help people live the Lenten season. Plus, We explain why Christians for centuries have observed the season of Lent by fasting from food and observing other self-denying acts. What about abstaining from “Needless television, video games, Internet use and social entertainment?” It's a suggestion by Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto. And from the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI is encouraging all to live this Lent as a period of conversion and reconciliation, to promote authentic peace among all communities and peoples.

CATHOLIC NEWS. With the arrival of Lent, the Archdiocese of Washington is launching an innovative ad campaign to lure back some of the sheep who have strayed. While the news is out that the Archdiocese of New York is planning round-the-clock reconciliation to kick off Lent. By now you’ve heard more than you wanted to hear about the California mother of six who recently gave birth to octuplets. The problem is that nearly all of that talk centers on what she did and the cost to the public - not how she did what she was able to do. While the Archbishop of Denver had some notable words for business leaders: The key to success is personal integrity and living virtuously with a focus on giving rather than taking.

YOUTH LIFE. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith offers some advice on preaching to young adults today: "Clear away the barriers." For those who are off to college, a couple reminds you that in addition to your bedding and linens, an iPod or CD player and, of course, a computer, bringing God along should be equally important. While Fr John McCloskey offers you this reminder, "Don't Just Keep the Faith, Spread It." Every person a Catholic meets is a potential convert to the Church.

Plus we give you two practical articles to ponder upon: "A Guide to Lent and Easter for Young People" and "Spiritual tips for 'the best Lent ever.'"

STORIES OF HOPE. In the past, actor Gary Graham of the Star Trek Enterprise TV series paid for three abortions. He has had a change of heart and is preaching the truth in Hollywood. We also present to you the four most common marriage problems — and what you can do to resolve them. Sometimes it’s exactly what you don’t do that makes a marriage work. Plus a nice reflection by Fr. Austin Murphy that you will surely enjoy: "Having Jesus as a Friend."

MONEY-SAVING TIP$$. In these turbulent economic times, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs and save money. We offers 15 tips for cutting back on your monthly expenses right now. They're "Quick Tips for Saving Hundreds of $ per Month."

Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally P. Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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