Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“Can any of us by worrying add a single moment to your life span?” Jesus asks this question in the gospel today as we prepare to celebrate Ash Wednesday and enter the season of Lent.  And yet how often we find ourselves worrying about something that is beyond our control.  In all this worrying, have you ever worried about your relationship with Jesus?  Do you take your relationship with Jesus for granted? I know I often do.  Lent is an opportunity for us to renew our relationship with our Savior and thus focus on what is important in our life.

The bulletin this Sunday, March 2, is devoted to helping each of us grow in his/her relationship with Jesus the Christ.  Will you deepen your relationship with Jesus this Lent?  How might you do this?  Well, can you think about it? Can you take a little time to ask yourself: Am I growing closer to you, Jesus?  Do I have a personal relationship with Jesus? I know that I can deepen my relationship with Jesus. How?

In the first reading from the prophet Isaiah, God assures us that even if a mother might forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb, “I will never forget you.”  God never forgets us. That’s good news.  Jesus’ mission was to both teach us that and empower us to take it to heart.  How can you, how can I respond more deeply to that beautiful truth?  It’s got to be a conscious effort. Here are a few suggestions:

“Jesus draw me closer to you.” Write this on a couple of post-it notes (or cut one out from the cover of the bulletin). Put one on your refrigerator door. Paste one on the dashboard of your car. Put one on your child’s book bag. Include it in your prayer before dinner or before you go to bed at night. “Jesus draw me closer to you.” Remember, you don’t draw yourself closer to    Jesus. It’s God’s grace in you that makes that happen.  Ask for that grace.

Fr. Bill has a two minute daily reflection sent to your inbox every day. It’s on-line at 6 a.m. each morning.  Listen to it, take another two minutes to think about what he says.

Is there some particularly heavy cross you’re carrying? Recall one of the Stations of the Cross. Meditate on one of the mysteries of the Rosary, or learn how to pray the rosary on Monday evenings in the chapel with the rosary ministry group.

Bringing Home the Word (towards the end of the bulletin) offers a wonderful 2 page reflection each week upon the scriptures. There are concrete suggestions there to help bring the word home making the connection between faith and your life, between Mass on Sunday and daily life.  There’s also a column to help us understand and be inspired by our patron Francis of Assisi as our mission statement urges us to be, as we seek to proclaim the reign of God.  Our bulletin, this weekly newsletter of the parish, offers many suggestions and recommendations to become involved.  I invite you to deepen your relationship with Jesus this Lent.  “Jesus draw me closer to you.” He will. Make no mistake about it.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark