Dean's Note: Feb. 14, 2021

This Sunday many people are celebrating Valentine's Day. If you are celebrating, we hope you have a beautiful day. We invite every married couple to join us for the 11:00 mass as we pray a special blessing to renew your marriage vows. But there's a lot more happening this Sunday as well.

It's the last Sunday in the Epiphany Season and we are getting ready for Lent. As is our tradition, we are welcoming all those who are participating in our annual Basic Christian Formation Program. We will be praying for them throughout the season of Lent as they continue on this spiritual journey.

All of us are going on this journey as well. Every year the Gospel for the Sunday before Lent retells the story of Jesus' transfiguration. Three of his disciples, Peter, James, and John, accompany Jesus up a mountain to have a time of quiet prayer and while they are there they see Jesus in blinding light and the two great figures from the Jewish tradition appear with him -- Moses and the prophet Elijah.  In a flash, the brilliance disappears and a cloud covers them and they see only Jesus.

The Gospel of Mark repeats this theme of cloud and light, and the flashes of God's Kingdom breaking into the darkness of the world. Those overcome by evil are released, sick people made whole, outcasts become part of a new community and even the dead are raised. Jesus brings the kingdom, but he also fights the powers of darkness that seek to destroy human beings.

After the story of the Transfiguration, Jesus begins his journey to Jerusalem where darkness will seem to win as he goes finally up the mount of Calvary to his cross and death, but very early on the first day of the week the sun will rise and we know that Jesus has conquered death.

Yet we all still struggle to see the light through the clouds and each of us can be the beacon of that light in the world so others can see God's Kingdom alive in us. All of us are in a process of being transfigured more fully reflecting Jesus in our lives.

Transformation is what Lent is about. The spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, study, and almsgiving help transform us into whom we are meant to be and become in Christ. But too often those practices focus too narrowly on interior transformation. What if this year we think of almsgiving more broadly as acts of service? What positive acts can you take on this year that will shine the light of the Kingdom in the world? As we noted last week, we are taking on a ministry as volunteers in the Covid vaccine clinic at Kedren Hospital. What will you do this year? The needs around us are great and the possibilities almost endless?

So as we prepare this week for the joyful season of Lent, the time of our transfiguration into the image of Christ, let's take time to intentionally prepare our hearts and minds for what we will lay aside and what we will take up.

Almighty and ever-living God, ruler of all things in heaven and on earth, hear our prayers for this parish family, as we prepare for Lent. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.