National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

Lent Will Be Here Soon

User’s Guide to Sunday

BY Tom & April Hoopes

February 15-21, 2009 Issue | Posted 2/9/09 at 1:10 PM

 

Sunday, Feb. 22, is the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. Wednesday, Feb. 25 is Ash Wednesday. It is not a holy day of obligation, but is a day of fasting and penance.


Rome

On Saturday, Feb. 22, Pope Benedict XVI will hold a consistory for canonization causes in the Clementine Hall at 11 a.m.

On Feb. 25, Pope Benedict will celebrate Holy Mass and the Blessing and Imposition of the Ashes at the Basilica of St. Sabina at 5 p.m.


Parish

EPriest.com provides “Best Parish Practices” ideas.

St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Charlotte, N.C., provides an annual “Liturgy Day” to provide formation and motivation for lay volunteers who regularly help at weekend Masses.

“Our goal is to celebrate our faith in accord with the universal norms and Christian joy,” says Father Mark Lawlor, pastor.

Altar servers, extraordinary ministers of holy Communion, lectors, ushers/greeters, and musicians all participate. For spiritual reflection and recommitment to their responsibilities, presentations covered are:

1) the history of different parts of the Mass,

2) why we celebrate the way we do, and

3) the role of music in liturgy.

More information is available at the EPriest website.


Family

FaithandFamilyLIVE.com is the website of Faith & Family magazine.

Lent will be here soon. Next issue of the Register will feature our Lenten Guide. In the meanwhile, we have a few family customs to share.

Decorations. We mute our décor during Lent, where possible.

Family Customs. It was during Lent that we first practiced the daily Rosary in a committed way. It’s a great time to start.


Readings

Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24b-25; Psalm 41:2-3, 4-5, 13-14; 2 Corinthians 1:18-22; Mark 2:1-12.

EPriest.com offers free homily packs for priests.


Our Take

It always surprised me that Pope John Paul II used today’s Gospel about the paralytic being lowered through the roof to elucidate the third Luminous Mystery, in the apostolic letter he wrote on the Rosary.

It was in that letter that he introduced the five Luminous Mysteries: The Baptism in the Jordan, the Wedding Feast at Cana, the Proclamation of the Kingdom, the Transfiguration, and the Institution of the Eucharist.

He called the third Joyful Mystery, “the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with his call to conversion.”

He described it this way: “Another mystery of light is the preaching by which Jesus proclaims the coming of the Kingdom of God, calls to conversion (see Mark 1:15) and forgives the sins of all who draw near to him in humble trust (cf. Mark 2:3-13; Luke 7:47- 48): the inauguration of that ministry of mercy which he continues to exercise until the end of the world, particularly through the sacrament of reconciliation, which he has entrusted to his Church (cf. John 20:22-23).”

There are many Gospel passages in there, but the longest is today’s reading.

It seems less surprising that today’s Gospel is the “proclamation of the Kingdom” when you read it in context with the other readings.

In the first reading, the Lord says, “See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth; do you perceive it?”

The Psalm is a plaintive call for forgiveness.

The second reading is an exhortation to be a “Yes” to God.

Then comes the Gospel about the paralytic.

It echoes all of the themes of the previous readings and explains them: The new thing breaking forth in the world is God-made-man. He answers our Yes by ending our paralysis and forgiving our sins.

Today’s Gospel is a call to each of us to embrace the Kingdom. The way to do that is to go to Christ, seek forgiveness, say Yes, and let God act.

The Church gives us 40 days of Lent to spend doing that.