COME BACK TO ME
We have now entered another Lenten Season during this very challenging pandemic. We are all tired and desperately hoping for an end to this global crisis. Yet again we cannot celebrate this holy season the way we always do but Lent may have come at the exact right time for us. This is a season responding to the call of the Father in heaven to come back to Him—He will comfort, strengthen, heal and inspire us to journey forward, taking care of each other heading for the Kingdom of Heaven. May we see this Lenten season as a way to come back to our Creator who longs to renew us each day.
SESSION #1 – THE CALL
Fr. John begins this Lenten series on Ash Wednesday where we hear in the first reading from Joel, this call to come back to the Father. How do we do this? The gospel for the Mass today calls us to prayer, sacrifice and service. The second reading empowers us as ambassadors for Christ that we also need to help those around us hear God’s call back to Him and together supporting one another on the journey.
SESSION #2 – RENEWING THE COVENANT
Fr. John continues this Lenten message series with session #2 focusing on the covenant relationship humanity has with God. God is always faithful to this covenant which is rooted in love. We so often break this bond with selfishness and sin. Lent is a real time to come back to the Father and to renew this covenant by experiencing and sharing forgiveness.
SESSION #3 – LET GO AND LET GOD
Our new Lenten message series that began on Ash Wednesday is an opportunity to respond to the Father’s call to come back to Him. This is the right time in the midst of the pandemic, when we are tired, worn out and desperate for all of this to end—we need to run back to the Father who seeks to heal, strengthen and empower us to move forward. Lent is the perfect season for all of us to renew our efforts to move forward with faith. In session #3, Deacon Don St. Onge, permanent deacon at St. John the Divine and soon for the family of parishes, reflects on the call for each of us to surrender to God’s love. If we want to come back to the Father we need to let go of what we want and even what we think we need and allow God to lead us. This takes a great amount of courage and trust — what do you need to let go?
SESSION #4 – WE NEED DISCIPLINE
Fr. Saleem preaches on this Third Week of Lent talking about the need for discipline. This comes out in the first reading with the Ten Commandments and in the gospel as Jesus cleanses the temple. Discipline means saying yes to certain things and no to others. Like athletes who need to follow a strict regimen, we too need to pray, sacrifice and serve follow God’s way and not our own.
SESSION #5 – RECEIVING AND SHARING MERCY
Fr. John preaches on this fourth week of Lent the need for receiving and sharing mercy. He shares about the need to live mercy in our lives. Lent is a time of mercy, we need to experience and share it with those around us. Coming back to the Father is all about mercy
or love. A love that heals, strengthens and beckons to be shared. What in our lives needs healing and mercy and how can we receive it? Once we receive and encounter mercy we then are able to share it. The readings this weekend remind us that God is always compassionate, patient and loving towards all of us. The Heavenly Father is rich in mercy and offers us new life. This is most perfectly expressed in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Lent is a time to let the light in—will we open our hearts to that light.
SESSION #6- FAITH CARDIOLOGY
Fr. John preaches on this fifth week of Lent on the need for our Lenten practices to not just be rituals or going though our routines. Our call to prayer, service and sacrifice needs to affect and come from our hearts.
SESSION #7 – WALK THE LINE
Deacon Don St. Onge invites us to ” walk the line” with Christ in our own lives, ready and willing to offer ourselves for others. As faithful followers of Christ, will we have the courage, faith and trust to make this sacred time our own?