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Fr. Ron's Blog

Fr. Ron's Blog

Here’s a question for all you football fans, whether Giant fans, or Jets or one of those “other” teams.  Have you ever noticed someone, usually sitting in the end zone (so that they can be seen at every touchdown, touchback, field goal, extra point, etc), holding a sign that read, John 3:16?  Tim Tebow often had it etched across his forehead when he played college ball.  Did you ever wonder what that stood for, or to what it referred?  If you had some inkling, perhaps, that it referred to a Scripture verse (which it does), did you ever feel moved to look it up.

For the past two Sundays, the Scripture readings have focused on sin, repentance and change of heart.  On the 1st Sunday of Lent we were challenged to come to grips with our personal sins, to understand them as the work of God’s great adversary, Satan, who, out of pride, seeks to lead people away from God and God’s path to life.  Following Jesus’ example in the desert, we were called to take on this war against sin in our own life.

A brief word on today’s 1st Reading.  I said last week that the first readings of Lent in the B Cycle all deal with the covenants God has made with humankind.  Last week, it was the covenant with Noah, and the entire human race, not to destroy the world by flood.  Today’s covenant relationship is the one god established with Abraham.  God has put Abraham to the test and Abraham has come through with flying colors.

In conversations outside the church last weekend (well, truthfully, in the vestibules – it was too cold outside), it was interesting to note the differing opinions in the change of “winter break” from the full five days, as in the past, to the present two days.  Some moms seemed happy to have the kids back in school sooner; some lamented the lack of an opportunity to really get away and, of course, some weren’t there because they went away anyway.  But here we are, back from whatever you did for the “winter break.”

Wednesday of this week is ASH WEDNESDAY, the beginning of Lent.  As you may have heard before, the word Lent derives from a Germanic root which meant spring (which, no doubt we are all eagerly awaiting), as in the season, but originally, long, referring to the time of year during which the days grew longer.

As a skier, I’ve always said I want a winter with plenty of snow – NORTH OF POUGHKEEPSIE!  Maybe it’s enough already.  As I write this, there may be another Sunday-Monday “event.”

First things first.  I want to say another word of our Parish Lenten Mission.  Over the years we have alternated various methods of presenting the Mission, both to try to reach as many people as possible and also to introduce people to different spiritualties, formats and experiences.  Once again, this year we are offering a different experience of Mission.  This year’s event will be a one-day Mission, early in Lent, to set the right tone and put people in the right frame of mind for a good follow-through for the rest of Lent.

Now that the “historic” blizzard of 2015 is behind us, maybe the wicked weather we’ve been experiencing, cold, ice, snow, will also be behind us.  But not if you believe the forecasters’ predictions for early this coming week.  And once the Super Bowl is over, we can face the February doldrums.  When I was in the seminary which was located in the Darlington section of Mahwah in those days, we used to call this time “Darlington February,” meaning nothing to look forward to.  I’m sure the current seminarians at Seton Hall don’t quite look at it in the same way.

Kailey was a seven year old, living in the Boston area.  As her 8th birthday approached, her parents asked her what she wanted.  She responded, “350 pairs of shoes.”  Asked again, she responded in the same way.  Then she explained that she had seen a program on the Disney Channel, the story of a girl who had collected shoes to give to the poor and needy and she wanted to do the same for her birthday.  Long story short, through social media, she collected 432 pairs of “footwear,” which she donated to those in need.  You can catch the whole story by goggling <Kailey’s Fantabulous Footwear> on the Internet. 

For those who may have been away last weekend, especially families of children who didn’t return to school until last Monday, I wish you a Happy New Year.  May it be filled with blessings and graces, that you may truly experience God’s love for you in this New Year in a deeper and more animating way. 

The flip of a calendar doesn’t necessarily mark anything special, but it does afford the opportunity to stop and “take stock” of what’s going on.  That change of calendars happened last Thursday, and so it is a good time to take that stock. 

Firstly, to recognize blessings and say thanks.  The first reading of the Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, New Year’s Day, begins “Say to them (the Israelites): ‘The Lord bless you and keep you.”  We here at OLMC are so blessed in so many ways.  One of those blessings is the people who are so good to us, sharing their time and talents.


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