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First Sunday of Lent (Catholic Charities Annual Appeal)

Gn 9:8-15 | Ps 25 | 1 Pt 3:18-22 | Mk 1:12-15

On this first Sunday of Lent, I invite all of us to reflect on what it means to follow Jesus into the desert.

In today’s gospel from the first chapter of Mark, we hear that “the Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,” where he remained for forty days, tempted by Satan. As the season of Lent reflects Jesus’ journey into the desert, we too are called to follow him into the desert as we prepare for his triumph over sin and death on Easter Sunday.

And as we follow Our Lord into the desert, may we all respond in the same way Jesus did to temptation and to Satan. Mark doesn’t provide us with as much detail about Jesus’ forty-day period of testing as the gospels of Matthew and Luke. In Mark, we only hear that the “angels ministered to him” during this time of testing in the desert. Today’s gospel reminds us that just as God did not leave Jesus to face temptation and Satan alone, our heavenly Father is faithful and will not abandon us either, in our fight against sin and temptation.

On Ash Wednesday, I encouraged each of us to spend more time cultivating our relationship with God by maybe waking up a little earlier and giving Him the first part of our day. [Believe me, when I say, I’m preaching that suggestion first to myself; as I am not a morning person and don’t see color until about noon]. During this time of prayer and meditation, I also encouraged us to spend more time studying Scripture. And this is why: when you study the Word, it begins to live in you, it becomes a part of you. It becomes your daily bread, your spiritual food. As Jesus told Satan in the desert: Man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

The parish has provided daily Lenten reflection booklets, as we did at Advent. This practice alone can help strengthen our faith and Lenten disciplines on a daily basis. Six weeks is a long time, and it can so easy to lose sight of our resolve.

Man cannot live by bread alone … but as physical beings, we do need food. If this basic necessity isn’t met, we’re not too worried about, or interested in, anything else. The Catholic Charities Annual Appeal is one way we can contribute greatly to the needs of those less fortunate. As it coincides with this First Sunday of Lent, it’s an opportunity to fulfill the almsgiving that we’re asked to be attentive to throughout these forty days.

As I shared in the bulletin two weeks ago, I know the construction costs associated with our church roof and your recent commitment to the Heart of a Shepherd campaign could make it difficult to even think about offering a pledge at this time, but I will simply ask us as the Body of Christ to consider giving what we’re able. No matter what it is we find ourselves able to offer, it will help contribute to a $1 million match an anonymous couple has pledged to give.

There are many different ways you can choose to donate, so let’s get started:

For those of you joining us via live-stream, I invite you to please utilize the secure, online giving page, or participate via text message.

To participate via text message, all you need is a cell phone and a credit card. Text the phrase CCHOPE to 41444. You’ll receive an immediate response with a link. Follow the link to make your gift, it’s as simple as that!

Now, we will take a few minutes so that those who prefer to donate using the special Appeal envelopes have the opportunity to write in their information.

(Catholic Charities Annual Appeal Script).


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