“FOR A BRIEF MOMENT I ABANDONED YOU,
BUT WITH GREAT COMPASSION I WILL GATHER YOU.
IN OVERFLOWING WRATH FOR A MOMENT I HID MY FACE FROM YOU,
BUT WITH EVERLASTING LOVE I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON YOU,
SAYS THE LORD, YOUR REDEEMER.”
(A Lent Sourcebook: The Forty Days, Book Two, p. 114)

As we approach the end of Lent, we are reminded that this is a season of hope as much as it is a season of sacrifice and penance. Hope is instilled within us because we know that after Lent comes Easter, the season of new life and resurrection. In the meantime, as we continue our Lenten journey there is still time to take a look at ourselves to see whether we still need to make any adjustments in our relationship with God. The season helps us appreciate the fact that through Jesus, the Father never gives up on us, hoping that we won’t give up on ourselves. Today’s Gospel is John’s reminding us that Jesus gave Lazarus a second chance to live and enjoy all that he was accustomed to enjoying. The story also tells us that Jesus had the authority from the Father not just to forgive sins but to restore all to life. Jesus was not a miracle worker but a healer. He restored people to health, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Jesus gave the people of his time, as he does for all of us, the opportunity to experience the love of the Father through him. Jesus helps us discover the wonder of his love through the life of the church, the Word, the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and one another. When we live with the hope that comes from being God’s children, we discover the new life of the Lord and are able to celebrate this new life with
one another.

Jesus may have restored Lazarus to life, but we celebrate this new life every time we gather around the Lord’s Table to break bread together and pass the cup around. We encounter the Lord in the simple gestures of our lives, hoping that we will come to a deeper faith in him and a better understanding of the reason he calls us out of the tombs of our lives to bask in the glory of his life and love.

This Gospel also challenges us to radiate the presence of Christ in the worlds in which we live: our homes, work places, businesses, places where we meet each other so that others may experience what we experience. While the raising of Lazarus was a unique experience for him, and for those who witnessed it, it reminds us that it is Jesus who offers us this new life and invites us to continue to grow in our relationship with God, so that we will continue to live as a people transformed by and renewed in his presence.

On Monday, March 20, we celebrated the Feast of St. Joseph in Italian. In celebration of the feast, $91 was collected and given to the church. GRAZIE, TUITTI ITALIANI & ALL WHO CELEBRATED THE FEAST.

HAPPY LENT!!!
~ FR. JOE!
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