Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As we continue our journey through Lent we are confronted this weekend with the commandments and the zeal that Jesus has to make holy the Father’s house. This weekend we are called to make our “house” holy. Taking time to listen to each commandment, we can turn over the “tables” of unholiness that may be blocking us to enter fully into a life of grace. The commandments steer us into a deeper relationship with God and others. By meditating on each commandment, we can learn how to live the holiness to which we are called through Baptism.
The commandments are our spiritual guide to living our Christian faith. They do not limit our ability to be people of faith, hope, and charity. Rather, they feed us with wisdom that Saint Paul refers to as “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” For us this wisdom provides encouragement in our faithfulness to following Jesus in our discipleship. Through authentic discipleship we offer those who may be in the darkness of sin an example of love that is based on the great commandment: love of God and love of neighbor. Let us not view the commandments as a burden, but as wisdom to know how to spread the gospel.
This weekend Pope Francis makes a pilgrim journey to the cradle of civilization and the birth place of Abraham, the father of the three great monotheistic religions. His apostolic visit as head of state and Roman Pontiff reminds us that we are a universal church that must extend the hands of peace to all people and to every land. Let us pray for the spiritual succuss of his visit not only for the struggling Christian communities but for all people of good will that call Iraq their home. Find time to watch and listen to the Holy Father’s messages from this historic visit.
March 19th is the Solemnity of Saint Joseph. Pope Francis has designated this year to the intercession of Saint Joseph, the Patron of the Universal Church. His feast day falls on a Friday, and according to church liturgical law all Lenten observances are suspended when we celebrate a solemnity. So, join me in celebrating the quiet intercession of so great an advocate for the family and the church. At the scheduled 5:15 Mass at Saint Clement, I will celebrate with great solemnity his intercession for us and the whole church. I invite you to join me for this celebration on Friday, March 19.
Each of us are intercessors and advocates for each other. Let us not forget to be intercessors and advocates for the poor and marginalized and for those that may be trapped in darkness. In our witness we can be a light of hope, like Saint Joseph.