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Fr. Ron's Blog

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Dear Friends,
Today is the 3rd Sunday of Lent. I will get to a reflection on the readings in a moment. I first want to say a word about the Scrutinies we will be celebrating at the 11:00 AM Mass today. The Scrutinies are a part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the RCIA. This is the process by which adults and children of catechetical age are brought into the Church. I say a process because it involves both instruction and formation.

Over the course of these past many months, twelve men and women have been journeying toward baptism (for those unbaptized), full communion (for those baptized in another Christian ecclesial community), or full initiation (baptized Catholic who have not completed their sacraments of initiation (baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist). On the weekend of the first Sunday of Lent, all were officially accepted into the final stages of this process. Beginning today, and continuing the next two weeks, they will take part in liturgical rites called the Scrutinies. These are rites when they will be asked to engage in self-searching – to uncover, then heal, all that is weak, defective or sinful, and to bring out, then strengthen all that is upright, strong and good. In prayer, we will ask God to deliver them from the power of sin and Satan, to protect them against temptation, and to give them strength in Christ, Who is the Way and the truth and the Life. These Rites will be celebrated at the 11:00 Mass today, and for the following two Sundays. The readings for those masses will be from the A cycle, relating the familiar stories of the woman at the well, the man born blind and the raising of Lazarus, to remind us that Jesus gives us the water of life, gives us sight in our blindness and raises us from the death of sin.

Pray for them, and if you attend any of these Masses, use the occasion to do some self-searching yourself, to see if your life is going in the right direction.

For all the other masses, the readings continue using Cycle C, the Gospel of Luke.

Are you ready to meet God? This seems to be the question Jesus puts to his hearers in today’s Gospel. Some people in the crowd relate to him the rumors that Pilate had executed some Galileans and mixed their blood with the blood of the Temple sacrifices. Jesus retorts with his own rumor – the tragic death of those on whom a tower had fallen. In both cases Jesus doesn’t comment on the widely held belief that these tragedies occurred because these people were sinners. But he challenges his hearers to examine if they would be ready for their own deaths.

This Gospel reminds us that life is uncertain. And we encounter tragedies every day in and through the media: hurricanes, floods, volcanoes, tornadoes, school shootings, as well as a host of personal tragedies, sickness, death, addictions, etc. These realities cannot be avoided and how unprepared we can be. This Gospel is a call to own this reality and to be prepared, by our repentance, to meet God in death.

Jesus closes with the parable of the fig tree. Normally, a new plant would be expected to produce fruit within two years and then to produce a harvest twice a year. The tree in the parable is long past due to show that it is worth the effort. But the gardener asks for one last year. If we were that tree, we should be happy for the reprieve, one last opportunity to bear the fruit that is within us. And we would have help because the one doing the nourishing and cultivating is no one less than Jesus himself. This gracious opportunity is ours for the taking.

As we begin this third week of Lent, Scripture invites us to ask ourselves if we have yet responded to the Lord’s call to repent, to turn away from sin and produce fruit for the Kingdom. Only you can answer that. If not, Jesus, the great gardener waits to help us, but… time may be running out.

God Bless,
Fr. Ron

P.S. You will notice that the recipient of our tithe for Sharing Our Gifts this week is Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark. Catholic Charities serves over 70,000 of our brothers and sisters in need in the Archdiocese every year, whether Catholic or not. Because of decreases in government reimbursements, especially in the behavioral health services, the Archdiocese has increased its support of Catholic Charities to 3 million dollars. You can help in this effort by pledging to the annual appeal, Sharing God’s Blessings. Appeal envelopes are available in the bookracks at all the entrances of the church. Please help,. Make a pledge today and drop it into one of the boxes at the doors of the church, or at the rectory.

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Mass Schedule

Weekend Liturgies
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday
8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m.,
11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m.,
3 p.m. (Spanish), 6:30 p.m.
Weekday Liturgies
Monday thru Friday,
6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m.,
and 12 noon
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. only
Holy Days
Eve: 7:30pm (anticipated)
6:30am, 8:30am, and 12noon 

 

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