40 Days of Lent

In the Bible, the number 40 appears at least one hundred times and is associated with a period of days.  It is a time God sets for testing us in fasting and prayer. Ezekiel (Ez 4:6) lay on his right side for 40 days (“one day for each year of their punishment”) in prayer for the repentance of Judah. Moses (Ex 34:1 - 28) also spent 40 days and nights in Mt. Sinai praying to Yahweh before receiving the 10 Commandments. After His baptism by John The Baptist, Jesus withdrew into the desert for 40 days and nights to pray without food to prepare Himself for His ministry of man’s salvation.

 

In our celebration of Lent within our golden jubilee celebration of the community of St. Andrew The Apostle we called upon to pray in solitude and in groups for peace, unity and love under our Catholic faith. Just as Jesus needed to take a break from His normal routine as a carpenter, we are called upon to set aside some time apart from our daily life for prayer, “kumpisalan,” and acts of mercy—to visit the sick, donate possessions to the poor and visit the prison inmates.

We need to make a daily appointment with Jesus. Choose a time of day, write it down in a diary and set an alarm for it, so that we don’t forget. Choose a place in your home (a corner or nook with a cross or blessed image) where the family can gather. It can even be after we watch the news just before eating supper. Or you could agree with the family to cut down a part of the meal, like dessert or meat, to practice abstinence.  We could also join the neighbourhood “Stations of the Cross,” and the weekly “holy hour” every Thursday evening. I have not experienced it myself; but, it was suggested by a church leader to organize group prayer using internet “chats,” to keep the prayer going the whole day, depending on the number of persons who join.  In Facebook I have been called upon to copy and paste a prayer calling attention for the healing or cheering up of a person undergoing treatment for a serious disease or experiencing financial or family dysfunction. Let us have a conversation with God, as if talking to a close friend.

It has been eleven days since Ash Wednesday; only 29 days to go until Easter Sunday. This year, instead of the random visitation of churches we plan each year, my wife and I will visit the church where we were baptized, where we first attended Mass, the confirmation and first communion. Looking at the records, it is a revelation how many churches have been part of our growing up in the Catholic faith. Let us make a special effort to join prayers of our local community to those of the rest of the Christian world.  Let us pray for an end to misery caused by disease, famine, war and corruption.

Sunday Mass Schedule Effective March 2011

6:30am - Filipino
8:00am - English
9:30am - English
11:00am - English

12:15n.n - English

3:30pm - Filipino
5:00pm - English
6:30pm - English
8:00pm - English

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