Voices of Faith

The Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Dear Friends:

This week begins the Season of Lent with the observance of Ash Wednesday on March 6. We mark ourselves with ashes as a sign of our resolve to walk with the Lord. Our 40-day journey of renewal and recommitment to the Lord is both a welcome opportunity to focus anew on the Lord’s call to follow him and a challenge to do more fervently those things that should always be a part of our life. The traditional three-fold practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving calls us to lift up our hearts to the Lord (prayer), to give up those things which we don’t really need (fasting), so as to have more time and resources to take up the works of service and charity (almsgiving) that are hallmarks of the Christian life.

Opportunities abound all around us to embrace the call of Lent. Join us here at St. Joseph for prayer and devotion: daily Mass, Stations of the Cross, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Eucharistic adoration, or a variety of small groups for prayer, reflection, and study (sign up for small groups is taking place this weekend). Our Outreach Committee has assembled and organized a wide range of service opportunities… check out how you might commit yourself to some act of charity in these days. And take a look at what “excesses” might be present in your life. Lenten fasting is not merely about dieting or self-improvement, though those are good benefits, but about recognizing that we can’t satisfy every longing for ourselves. We make more room for the Lord to be part of our lives. In short, whatever you “give up” is supposed to make room for you to “take up” the works of charity and to be more able to “lift up” your heart in prayerful devotion.

Thanks to all who have committed to participate in the Archdiocese’s Annual Appeal for Catholic Ministries, enabling works of charity, pastoral care, and evangelization throughout the local church. It is wonderful to see such dedication to the work of the gospel, for if we don’t do it, who will? If you have not yet made a pledge, visit www.archbalt.org/appeal and make your pledge today.

God’s peace,

Fr. Rick