Letter from Father Lester, 2-19-21

Beloved Parish Family,

“May your mercy, Lord, be upon us; as we put our hope in you.”
~Psalm 33:22

How was the first week of Lent for you? I gave up watching TV and for me it was never easy. I struggle with the temptation of not fulfilling the Lenten goals I set for myself. Lent allows us to make sacrifices and reminds us of the sacrifice Jesus offered because of His tremendous love for us. We might only have a few goals this Lent, but it is spiritually beneficial when we do them with love and devotion. May we never be discouraged with our failures, and with Jesus walking with us we will persevere.

I invite you to join in the communal celebration of the Stations of the Cross in our church every Friday, in
McCloud at 3 pm and in
Mt. Shasta at 5:30 pm.
It is a great devotion that allows us to meditate on the suffering of Christ. Our difficulties, when joined with Christ, become meaningful.

For those who have not received the 2021 Missal book that we distributed last November we have them available in the vestibule. Please take one for your personal copy. There are also copies of the Stations of the Cross available. Please bring them with you when you come on Fridays. You may also do the Stations of the Cross with your family at home.

May we keep each other in our prayers and may God grant us the grace this Lent that we may become better persons, and even saints.

One with you in the journey,
Fr. Lester

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Our Lenten Letter

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Our Lenten Schedule for 2021

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Readings for February 28, 2021

Temptation of Christ

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Reflections : Second Sunday of Lent

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"Sunday Connection" from Loyola Press

First Reading
Genesis 22:1-2,9a,10-13,15-18
Abraham obeyed God and prepared to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 116:10,15,16-17,18-19
A prayer of faithfulness to God

Second Reading
Romans 8:31b-34
God’s faithfulness is shown in his offering of his own Son for our salvation.

Gospel Reading
Mark 9:2-10
Jesus is transfigured in the presence of Peter, James, and John.

*** Background on the Gospel Reading ***

On the second Sunday of Lent in each Lectionary cycle, the Gospel reading proclaims the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration. This event is reported in each of the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This year, in Lectionary Cycle B, we hear Mark’s report of this event.

The context for Mark’s Transfiguration story is similar to that found in both Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospel. The Transfiguration occurs after Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus’ prediction about His passion. After this, in each of these Gospels, there is also a discussion of the cost of discipleship.

In each case, Jesus takes three of His disciples—Peter, James, and John—to a high mountain. While they are there, Elijah and Moses appear with Jesus. In Matthew’s and Mark’s Gospel, there is reference to a conversation among Jesus, Elijah, and Moses, but only Luke’s Gospel includes the detail that this conversation is about what Jesus will accomplish in Jerusalem.

Elijah and Moses are significant figures in the history of Israel. Moses led the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and received from Yahweh the Ten Commandments. In appearing with Jesus at his Transfiguration, Moses represents the Law that guides the lives of the Jewish people. Elijah is remembered as one of the most important prophets of Israel who helped the Israelites stay faithful to Yahweh. Some Jews believed that Elijah’s return would signal the coming of the Messiah for the Jewish people. This belief is evidenced in the question posed by Jesus’ disciples after they have witnessed the Transfiguration. The appearance of these two important figures from Israel’s history with Jesus signifies Jesus’ continuity with the Law and with the prophets and that Jesus is the fulfillment of all that was promised to the people of Israel.

On seeing Jesus with Elijah and Moses and having witnessed His Transfiguration, Peter offers to construct three tents for them. Mark reports that the disciples are terrified by what they have witnessed and that Peter’s offer is made out of confusion. We also notice that Peter has reverted from his earlier confession that Jesus is the Messiah, calling Jesus rabbi instead. As if in reply to Peter’s confusion, a voice from heaven speaks, affirming Jesus as God's Son and commanding the disciples to obey him. This voice from heaven recalls the voice that was heard at Jesus’ baptism.

In His Transfiguration, we see an anticipation of the glory of Jesus’ Resurrection. In each of the reports of the Transfiguration, Jesus instructs the disciples to keep secret what they have seen until after the Son of Man has risen from the dead. The disciples’ confusion continues as they wonder what Jesus means by rising from the dead. The disciples cannot possibly understand Jesus’ Transfiguration until they also witness his passion and death. We hear the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration early in Lent, but we have the benefit of hindsight. In our hearing of it, we anticipate Jesus’ Resurrection, even as we prepare to remember Jesus’ passion and death.

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