Sunday, February 14th 2021 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin
Boy does time fly. It seemed that we were in the Advent Season preparing for Christmas. Now at the “blink of an eye” we are preparing for the penitential season of Lent. The word Lent literally means Springtime. The custom of “Spring Cleaning” is familiar to many of us and at this time of the year in many cultures, a thorough cleaning and reorganization of home and hearth is an annual event. Lent is our spiritual 40-day interior cleaning and reorienting our lives from the ephemeral to the eternal.
On the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Gospel reading recounts how a person suffering from leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) knelt before Jesus and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched this diseased man and healed him. He then encouraged the man to show himself to the priest – as prescribed (see first reading from Lev. 13) – and offer for a thanksgiving offering for his cleansing, referencing what was commanded in the Law of Moses. By completing these rituals, this man who was once isolated, shunned and excluded might be welcomed back to the community of faith.
Let us approach this holy season of Lent like that afflicted man. By our faults, we have distanced ourselves from God and His community of faith, the Church. The leper reminds us Who to go to in our search for cleansing, healing and reconciliation. Let us approach the Lord this Lenten season on our knees asking for forgiveness and healing from our offenses, saying, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” There is no doubt that, if we have a humble and contrite heart, Jesus will stretch out His hand in forgiveness and His mercy will touch and transform our lives. As the Responsorial Psalm this Sunday proposes, “Blessed is he whose faults are taken away, whose sin is covered.”
And like the leper, we too should go forth from our healing with a commitment to cleanse ourselves from the lasting effects of sin. Lent is a time to offer acts of reparation through Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving so that we might be purified in all areas of our life and walk with the Gracious Healer, Jesus, who sacrificed His life for our sake.
This Lent we might look at
as a particular Lenten discipline. Almsgiving is giving charitably to a worthy cause. We want to give to causes that give especially to those who find themselves on the margins, are shunned and ostracized and searching for healing and reconciliation. Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” I recently sent out a letter to registered parishioners about Lenten giving.
There is still time to register for ALPHA which started on February 2nd. See the parish website at sss.stjccm.org and
to sign up. There is no cost and they meet Tuesday Nights on Zoom from 7:00 PM to 8:15 PM.
This holy season of Lent is an opportunity to be healed and cleansed on our faith journey as disciples of Jesus Christ. Let us consider what we can do to offer acts of reparation so that we might be purified and one day share in Jesus’ resurrection.