I am continuing to write a message in the absence of Father Kuzma who is beginning the second half of his time away in Florida. Fr. Francis had laser surgery on his left eye and feels that his vision is now good enough for him to drive and count every hair on my head. Praise God. May God bless Fr. Kuzma, Fr. Francis and all parishioners needing healing.
On the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time and only a few days from Ash Wednesday, the Scripture readings are challenging us believers to think and act in opposite ways to the world ways. Since the Lord showed his perfect wisdom and love by doing good and dying for both righteous and sinful peoples, we too are being made holier and perfected as we choose to love our enemies, help them, pray for them and refuse to hate them. The Lord would not make such demands unless He provides the supernatural graces we need through faith in Him and the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit and the Sacraments. Are you on a journey towards greater holiness?
God tells Moses in Leviticus 19 that we are to become holy for God is holy, that we must not hate anyone in our heart, that we must reprove sinners or we will incur guilt, that we shall not seek vengeance nor bear grudges and must love our neighbour as ourselves. Saint Paul in 1st Corinthians 3 reminds us that we are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells is us, that if anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person and that since God’s temple is holy, we are holy. Are you taking a good care of your body, mind and soul? Are you living as a precious son or daughter of God, treating others as (potential) brother or sister of Jesus Christ however unaware or unworthy that may be?
In Matthew 5, the Lord Jesus challenges us to heroic charity towards evil doers by refusing to retaliate – seeking justice is a form of love for the innocent and the guilty –, by being as generous and prudent as we can towards people in need and to show love towards our enemies through good deeds for them and by praying for them. God calls us to perfection. If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Like you, I have a long way to go before I become holy, but this does not mean that I/we should not make sincere efforts to surrender every day our mind, heart and will to God through prayer, fasting, penance and obedience to God’s will.
May God’s call to holiness inspire us to embrace with a positive attitude the great season of Lent to become more like our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you and Our Lady, Saint Joseph, the Angels and the Saints protect and guide you always.
Fr. Luc (Retired Priest)