2nd Sunday of Lent (a)

Sunday 16th March:               Second Sunday of the Lent (a)

            In the first reading, God demands a radical change from Abraham.  He is called to leave all his comforts and security and go on a pilgrimage of faith and hope to a promised land which will not be given to him but to the new people to be born from him.

            The second reading is from St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy.  God calls us to accept and spread the Gospel of Jesus and to suffer for it.  If we suffer with Jesus, we shall also live with him.

            The brief glimpse of his future glory strengthens Jesus on his journey through suffering and death to the Resurrection.  At the same time, Jesus strengthens the faith and hope of his disciples and of each one of us on our own journey of faith.

 Monday 17th March:    Feast of St. Patrick.

          The Apostle of Ireland, as he is sometimes called, was born in Britain (either Wales or Scotland) around the year 385.  At the age of sixteen, he was captured by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland where he was assigned as a shepherd to care for the flock.  He became a catholic and later escaped to spend some time in France as a disciple of St. Germain of Auxerre.  He was ordained a priest, then a Bishop and sent back to Ireland arriving there in 432.  He preached and brought many of the tribal chiefs to Catholicism and was successful in adapting the Gospel to Irish culture.  He convoked a Synod and handed over government of the church to other Bishops It is believed he died on this date in 461 and was buried in Stanford Lough where he had built his first church.  Although venerated in Ireland from an early date it was only in 1632 he was listed in the Roman calendar.

 Tuesday 18th March:              Tuesday of second week of Lent.   

          When we know our faith and practice our religious duties and observances, when we go to Mass and the sacraments and practice penance during Lent – are we good Christians?  Only if our heart is in what we do can we say yes.  If we act as we believe and do what we say – we can say yes.  If our faith affects our everyday living and our relations with our neighbour – then we can say yes.  If we are playing our part in the building up of the Kingdom of God – then we can say yes.  Otherwise, our faith and our lives are hypocritical.

Wednesday 19th March:         Solemnity of St. Joseph.

          The feast of St. Joseph did not become widespread until the fourteenth or fifteenth century, the first mass in his honour being celebrated in Rome in 1505.  The genealogy of St. Joseph is found in St. Matthew’s Gospel and in St. Luke’s.  We also know form the Gospels that he was a carpenter and that it was very likely that Jesus learned the trade from him.  Joseph and Mary were poor, as evidenced by the fact that, at Mary’s purification in the Temple, they offered a pair of turtledoves.  The tribute paid to him in Scripture is that he was a just man.  On several crucial occasions, such as Our Lady’s pregnancy, the flight into Egypt, the return to Palestine, Joseph was instructed by an angel.  Pope Pius IX proclaimed St. Joseph patron of the universal Church.    

Thursday 20th March:  Thursday of second week of Lent.

          Those who place their faith in themselves and in the means they possess are not open to God or to his Kingdom.  They adore the Golden Calf and their own gods.  They fail to see the needs of those around them.  That is why God condemns them.  We must learn to see the unspoken needs of those who dare not voice their poverty or their distress.

Friday 21st March:                 Friday of second week of Lent.

            Joseph suffered because his brothers were jealous.  Yet later he would save them from famine.  Jesus was rejected and dies for our sins.  In doing this, he becomes the keystone for a new kingdom, for the life of all.  And what about us?  We want the good things without paying the price.  It can be too uncomfortable, too painful to put things into practice unless we are forced to by circumstances.

Saturday 22nd March:            Saturday of second week of Lent.

          When we forgive those who have hurt us, often some scars still remain and take a long time to heal.  We find it difficult to treat the person who has wronged us as if he has done no wrong.  God does.  He remains faithful to the love he has promised us.  He is always ready to excuse to forgive, to welcome the returning sinner.