5th Sunday of Lent
Brothers and Sisters,
“Tempus fugit, memento mori” is a Latin phrase that was formerly used by Trappist monks to greet one another. It means “Time flees, remember death”. The phrase is moderately more sobering (and helpful) that our colloquial “time flies when you’re having fun”. Lent is passing rapidly; we are only seven days away from Holy Week, which culminates in the sacred Paschal Triduum. The concrete occasions the Lord presents to us daily in order to help us enter into this penitential time are running out. We began lent with the gospel reading in which Christ exhorts his disciples (meaning you) to fast, pray and give alms. Jesus presumes that these acts are being done by the Jews following him and therefore doesn’t have to say “Hey, you stingy child of God, give some alms! Be generous like your Father is.”, or “Hey, have you seen enough Netflix? Are you done binge-watching? Maybe prayer will give you some peace!”, or “Hey, must you always eat your fill? Try a modicum of asceticism for love of Christ.” Fasting, prayer and almsgiving were among the pious practices that the Jewish people practiced weekly. We may have strayed from them, but we can regain them. Vices are earned through the repetition of bad acts; the first stings a bit, but the more we do it, the easier it becomes to sin. Likewise, virtues are gained through habitual acts of virtue. The first is very difficult, the second less so, until eventually acts of virtue come almost second nature.
Tempus fugit. If lent doesn’t inspire us to embrace these salutary practices, we can’t expect that the joyful Easter season will prompt us to take them up. We don’t have much time left, a mere two weeks. So, memento mori. Everything that seems so important to us right now, all the things we ‘must’ do during our day pales in comparison to the preparation we need for the hour of our death. The graces offered to us by the Lord come at a small price. God is patient, he extends the invitation and allows us the freedom to accept or reject it. If we have been loath to respond these past few weeks God doesn’t judge, he simply extends the invitation once more. Will you respond?
Lent personifies the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert. For those who inter this desert willingly, it becomes an experience in which we undergo
“a trial by fire” (1Peter 4:12) In the midst of flames, we are tempted to grumble against the Lord or blame other people for our trials. We must overcome these temptations by holding on to hope through prayer, fasting and almsgiving as countless saints have done throughout the centuries. For Christians, temptations are the path by which we learn to know our heart in all sincerity. Only then can we face the harsh realities of our lives, repent of our sins, and commit ourselves to follow the Lord unreservedly with our whole heart.
Remember, “Your love must be sincere, detest what is evil, cling to what is good. Love one another with the same affection of brothers and sisters. Anticipate each other in showing respect. Do not grow slack but be fervent in spirit; he whom you serve is the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient under trial, persevere in prayer”(Romans 12:9-12).
The fire of lent should result in the commitment of Easter. We must not let trials turn us away from the Lord but rather to him.
“We know that affliction makes for endurance, and endurance for tested virtue, and tested virtue for hope. And hope will not leave us disappointed because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts” (Romans 5:3-5).
“Therefore, count it pure joy when you are involved in every sort of trial. Realize that when your faith is tested this makes for endurance. Let endurance come to its perfection so that you may be fully mature and lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
This Lenten season “Do not be conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may judge what is God’s will, what is good, pleasing and perfect.
Don’t give up, courage, the Lord is with you.
From the Pastor
St. Albert the Great Newman Parish
2615 S. Solano Dr
Las Cruces, NM 88005
Monday - Friday: 5:30 pm
Saturday: 5:30 pm
Sunday: 8:30 am, 11 am
Confessions: Saturday 4 pm