First Sunday in Lent

Reflection for the First Sunday in Lent:

Sin never shows itself in pure form—as raw evil. If it did, its ugliness would repulse us. Rather, it masks itself and hides under the guise of something good or attractive. This is how temptation works. The snake did not say, "Eat that fruit and you will be ashamed of yourselves and alienated from God." Rather it says, "You will be like gods." Now that's attractive! Satan came to the Lord Jesus in the same way, with apparent goods. You are hungry, make these stones bread; you are the Son of God, prove your trust in him; you could run the world. Jesus was tested in the same way that Israel was tested in the desert (see Deut 6-8). What distinguishes Jesus' response to the tempter from Adam and Eve's, or even ancient Israel's, is that he doesn't get lost in the apparent good, and he confronts seeming truth with real truth.

Jesus was tempted like us and he overcame sin not by his own human effort but by the grace and strength which his Father gave to him. He had to renounce his will for the will of his Father. He succeeded because he wanted to please his Father and he trusted that his Father would give him the strength to overcome the obstacles that stood in the way. Luke says that Jesus was "full of the Holy Spirit" (Luke 4:1). When tempted by the devil Jesus did not try to fight his adversary on his own human strength. He relied on the power which the Spirit gave him. Jesus came to overthrow the evil one who held us captive to sin and fear of death (Hebrews 2:14). His obedience to his Father's will and his willingness to embrace the cross reversed the curse of Adam's disobedience. His victory over sin and death won for us not only pardon for our sins but adoption as sons and daughters of God. Bread is not a substitute for God; you must not test God; you cannot trade obedience for power. To truly enter into the spirit of Lent is to grow in freedom, in discriminating wisdom, and in truth. It allows us to see through the cheap attractiveness of temptation and become inclined to the deeper truths that underlie our hearts' deepest, truest desires.

Meditation: What in my life attracts or tempts me to substitute truth for comfort, the status quo for conversion, apparent goods for the only true good in my life?

Prayer: Lord, it is so easy to be deceived. Give us wisdom to discern truth, and the courage to live that truth in our lives.

Additional Mass and Stations of the CrossEach Friday evening at 7 PM we will celebrate the Eucharist followed by the Stations of the Cross at 7:30 PM. This year we will pray the Stations of the Cross entitled: Everyone’s Way of the Cross. Copies will be available for you at the stations.  Please join us to celebrate the Eucharist and the Stations each Friday evening. 

Wishing you all a prayerful Lenten Season!

Fr. Phil



The black ash is wet and cold. A practiced thumb stamps us with two intersecting lines of burnt palms from last year. Those gathered at Mass walk back up the aisle to their places as we await the dismissal. Looking around, I see so many faces: young, old, teens, mothers, fathers, and single people. Some faces I recognize from Sunday Mass; some faces I don’t recognize. We join in singing the recessional hymn as Father progresses slowly toward the doors of the church.

Then we go out into the morning air to start our day, marked with the sign of Christ. School and work will begin now that this liturgy is over, and the black marks on our foreheads will be a cause for discussion, for double takes, and for witness.
So Lent begins.

Every year in the middle of a week in late winter we go to Church and have the ashes smudged upon our clean foreheads. Every year the churches are filled to overflowing with the regulars and the not-so-regulars. Why do we still undergo this ritual of ashes that is centuries old, as old as the prophets who pleaded with God’s people to turn back from sin and toward God? We go because we need to go, because at least once a year we need to be reminded that our deepest hunger is the hunger for God. Lent is a gift that the Church in her wisdom celebrates every year. It is a gift of time, a gift of contemplation, and a gift of quiet so that we may listen to the Word, who whispers to us to come back to the God who created us. It encourages us to turn away from the noise and over-indulged appetites so that we may understand the hunger that can be filled—with the grace of God—only by prayer, fasting, and giving to the poor. So we go to our parish churches once a year to have crosses signed upon our faces. It is in this same manner that, when the Gospel is proclaimed, we take our right thumbs, trace three crosses, and pray: may the word of God be in my mind, on my lips, and in my heart. The prayer of the whole Church, the Body of Christ, is that each year the sign of the cross penetrates a little deeper and moves us toward fuller conversion toward the light of Christ. May this Lent be a time of quiet peace and grace.

Mass Times for ASH WEDNESDAY
ð        9:30 am St. Paul’s High School
ð        1:00 pm St. Dominic and Queen of Heaven elementary school
ð        7:30 pm Parish Mass
You are all invited to any Mass

Please remember that there is an extra Mass on Friday Evening during Lent at 7pm followed by the Stations of the Cross at 7:30

Date to Remember
Fr. Phil’s Roast Beef Dinner –
Saturday February 18th 2018 in the parish hall.

I hope you all have a good week!

I wish you a great week,

Fr. Phil

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Who do you take your troubles to? Jesus' disciples freely brought their troubles to him because they found him ready and able to deal with any difficulty, affliction, or sickness which they encountered. When Simon brought Jesus to his home, his mother-in-law was instantly healed because Jesus heard Simon's prayer. Jerome, an early church bible scholar and translator (c. 347-420), reflects on this passage:
"Can you imagine Jesus standing before your bed and you continue sleeping? It is absurd that you would remain in bed in his presence. Where is Jesus? He is already here offering himself to us. 'In the middle,' he says, 'among you he stands, whom you do not recognize' (Cf. John 1:26) 'The kingdom of God is in your midst' (Mark 1:15). Faith beholds Jesus among us. If we are unable to seize his hand, let us prostrate ourselves at his feet. If we are unable to reach his head, let us wash his feet with our tears. Our repentance is the perfume of the Savior. See how costly is the compassion of the Savior."

Do you allow Jesus to be the Lord and healer in your personal life, family, and community? Approach the Lord with expectant faith. God's healing power restores us not only to health but to active service and care of others. There is no trouble he does not want to help us with and there is no bondage he can't set us free from. Do you take your troubles to him with expectant faith that he will help you?
(Servants of the Word)

Date to Remember

Fr. Phil’s Valentines Roast Beef Dinner and Dance
(50’s, 60’s and 70’s)
Sunday February 18, 5pm –Cocktails - 6pm Dinner
Adults $25, Children under 12 $10, Under 5 free

I wish you a great week,

Fr. Phil