Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lent: Gaining Freedom to say yes to God (Sunday homily)

While not many people have visions like Isaiah, 
a lot of people have experiences where either they feel God’s presence, 
or things suddenly fall into place and they realize the truth about God or about themselves. 
These are moments of conversion. 

The opportunity is here. This Wednesday begins Lent. 
If we choose, Lent can be a time when we have an encounter with God. 
A lot of us are thinking already about what we’ll “give up for Lent.” 
But the reason we do that is not because cookies or alcohol or golf are bad things. 
They’re good things; but perhaps we love them too much? 

When our Lord said to Peter, leave everything behind, What if Peter had said no? 
“No, Lord, I need those things so much!” 

When I was a boy, and I learned to swim, early on I’d clutch the side of the pool--
I was afraid to go out too deep. 
And then one day, I launched out across the entire pool. 
What a thrill! What freedom! 

Giving up things; and giving things away, gives us the freedom to say yes. 
And remember what Saint Leo taught us: 
when we give up rich food during Lent, 
it’s so that we can give to the poor the money we would have spent on ourselves. 

The third thing we emphasize during Lent--
on top of fasting and giving to the poor--is prayer. 

Every Wednesday, starting February 20, 
we’ll have the Holy Eucharist on the altar of Saint Rose from 12:10 Mass until 7 pm, 
when we’ll have Stations of the Cross and Benediction. 

In the back of church are sign up sheets. 
If we are going to ask our Lord to be on the throne of the altar in our church, shouldn’t we show up? 

We need adorers here, every hour, both out of respect for the Lord, 
but also for practical reasons: the church doors will be open. 
If you want to see the Lord, he will be on this altar every Wednesday! 

Meanwhile, I remind you that we have confessions 
on Friday and Saturday mornings at 11 am till Noon. 
The Cathedral has confessions Monday to Friday, after 7 am Mass, then at Noon to 12:30; 
and again at 4:30 to 5 pm; and on Saturdays, noon to 3 pm. 
Saint Xavier Church, downtown, has confessions Monday to Saturday from 11 to Noon. 
Old Saint Mary in Over the Rhine has confessions 15 minutes before each Sunday Mass, 
and after the 12:10 pm Mass each day. 

The sacrament of confession is the sacrament of conversion. 
We heard both Isaiah and Simon Peter say, Lord, I’m a sinful man. 
Again, each of them could have used that as a reason to hold back; 
but the Lord had a different idea: leave your sins behind and follow me. 
The grace of confession helps us to do precisely that. 

Do you want to meet the Lord this Lent? You can. He’s ready. Are you?

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