Dear Parishioners, Visitors, and Friends,
Ash Wednesday begins our journey of Lent not only as individuals but as a parish community. The reading on this day from the book of Joel tells us to return to the Lord with all our hearts. He also tells us how gracious and merciful the Lord is who loves His people.
Our Lenten journey is a journey of love. We are to come to the realization, during this Holy Season, that the Lord loves us beyond all our imaginings as He loved Israel in the desert providing for them all that they would need. The Lord does the same for us because the desert for us is life itself. Our reflection and journey then begin with meditations and prayers which foster the knowledge of God’s love for us in the person of Jesus His Son through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
However, there is a grave responsibility for us. If we are loved in a way that is beyond our comprehension or understanding, then we must respond to that love by loving one another. We must remember the commandment of Jesus to love one another as he has loved us. Therefore, we must live and die for one another. It may seem like a difficult task, but we are Created in the Image of God and our destiny, the meaning of our lives is to give totally of ourselves. There is nothing else that can make us truly happy and complete. When we focus on the self or the ego, we go against the reason why we were created and therefore our lives become disrupted. We lose hope because we’ve lost the meaning of who we are. Life becomes a never-ending search for love in all the wrong places. We become desensitized to the needs of other. We become angry because our earthly needs aren’t being fulfilled. We are searching for meaning of our lives and we become lost because the meaning comes from within us. The mystery of the Lord’s life, death and resurrection is to bring us back to the knowledge that we are created to love no matter what the cost may be.
So, my friends, let us keep our eyes on the prize. Let us remember that there is only one goal in life and that is to become more human. Jesus is our example and guide. Isaiah says that the fasting that the Lord truly desires is this: “releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke, setting free the oppressed and the homeless, clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. He goes on to say: “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help and he will say, ‘Here I Am’”. Let us go up with the Lord to Jerusalem. And remember that selfish something inside of us, the ego, must be controlled and destroyed so that we may truly love as Jesus did. Let us nail our selfishness to the Cross so that we may love.
Best wishes during this Holy Season and always, with all my love, admiration and devotion,
Father Albert Santorsola
Pastor, St. Rose of Lima