By: Fr. John Jasica
IT’S ROLL UP SEASON!!!
First, I just want to make it clear, this is not an endorsement for Tim Hortons. I do not have an advertising deal of any kind but am open to Tim Horton gift cards if you have any around!!!
I have to say, I do love my large double-double coffee, and isn’t it a coincidence that from February 6 to April 17, 2019 Tim Hortons is running their annual “Roll Up the Rim to Win” contest? As if Lent wasn’t hard enough, many of us will be challenged not to indulge in a Canadian tradition during the most powerful season of preparation in the liturgical calendar.
ROLL UP YOUR FAITH FOR LENT
The excitement of getting that cup and rolling up the rim to find out that we are invited to “try again” spurs us on to another opportunity to win that donut, timbit or coffee. This annual ritual is at times quite exciting and I have to say, many are persistent and determined to win something!!
Lent will begin on Wednesday March 6th with Ash Wednesday. This holy season invites us to roll up our sleeves and truly dig in and deepen our relationship with Christ trying to understand the powerful love expressed on the cross for our salvation. In as much as it is a season of giving up sweets, coffee, the PlayStation 4 or iPad—it is a season of discipline, faith and prayer. How are you going to spend your Lent to deepen your love for Jesus?
1) ROLL AWAY SIN
One of the greatest ways to deepen our love for Jesus and allow Him into our lives in a more powerful way is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This intimate experience of unconditional love will be offered a lot during our Lenten journey because it allows Jesus to meet us on our terms and in our own lives. He is the only one who can wash away, forgive and eliminate the weight of sin in our lives. Even if you haven’t been to confession in a long time, it is a most humbling, freeing and transforming experience the Church can offer. Through reconciliation we are loved no matter what we have done and we are completely restored to the fullness of grace. Be courageous and trust in the Lord’s love, He will never ever disappoint you. Come and be set free in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
2) ROLL ALONG THE PATH
One of the regular rituals in our parish during the Lenten season takes place on Friday nights with the Stations of the Cross. This devotional prayer allows us to realize the immense sacrifice Jesus made in laying down His life for us. Jesus bore the cross not out of obligation to the Father in heaven but out of complete love for us—to save us from death and lead us to eternal life. We are humbled by His love and willingness to suffer so greatly.
The Way of the Cross also shows the path that we are all called to take in our faith journey. We like Jesus, need to embrace our crosses to fulfill the will of the Father. The journey of a Christian involves suffering, pain and sacrifice. It will come in different forms and in various degrees but all of us are called to share in the salvation Christ has won for us. The blessing in the midst of the cross is that we do not bear it alone. We as a Christian family journey together and lean on each other. The Way of the Cross reminds us that we are to help others like Simon of Cyrene. We are to loosen the burdens of others. This is especially awakened and rekindled during the season of Lent.
3) ROLL BACK TIME
The season of Lent invites us to take time, to stop, slow down and give God more of our lives. This is hard to do in our busy daily schedules but completely necessary. Without making time, or rolling back the clock to let Jesus in, we can rush through Lent and arrive at Easter with nothing. There will be a lot of events, prayer opportunities and tools to help you deepen your love for Jesus. The challenging decision to be made is to really make time. Time for prayer, for quiet, for reflection and renewal. Sometimes we have to stop and get off the fast train and recalibrate our direction. Lent beckons us to do this so that we may always direct our lives to heaven. Will we make time for this to happen?
We will have retreat opportunities, an online mission, reflection booklets, holy hours and various faith opportunities to grow closer and be inspired by Jesus. Will you take the time?
4) ROLL AWAY THE STONE
Lent is a wonderful season to roll away those things that prevent us from drawing close to Jesus. Sin is a wall that prevents us from having a deep relationship with Jesus and one another. It divides us and erodes the grace of relationships. Reconciliation rolls away sin.
Lent reminds us that there is more to life than what we have before our eyes. Sometimes we can get too caught up with the pursuits of success, money, power or popularity. Lent allows us to roll away selfishness, greed and control. It challenges us to live for Jesus and for others offering us true and everlasting joy.
Lent also allows us to roll away the reality of death. This most holy season brings us new life if we choose to move aside those things that distract us from Jesus. The Lord offers us life forever if we choose to follow.
The Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and service awakens in us the glimpse of new life. When praying, we hear the words of life, when we fast from things that waste our days we then become attentive to the love God offers. Finally, when we serve those in need, we become Christ, the one who gives life. All of these actions roll away the stone that traps us from Jesus. May our Lenten journey roll away the stone and free us to love and serve the Lord!!
Here are some Lenten events planned:
– Confession times
– Friday night Mass & Way of the Cross
– Monday night Mass & Lenten Series
– Lenten Retreat on Prayer
– Online Mission
– holy hours
and so much more!!!!