Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Dustin Collins
March 2-3, 2019 – 5:00pm & 11:00 am
In a few days there will be a lot of transition taking place around us. Green vestments will turn into violet. The Gloria, Glory to God, will fade away and be lost for a period of time. Plants and flowers which once decorated our church will disappear in favor of barrenness. Music once joyful in nature will begin to display a penitential tone. And we cannot forget about the Alleluia for it to will be put to rest until it rises again with our risen Lord at Easter.
This list is to remind us of the penitential nature of the Lenten season. Hopefully, we not only allow transition to take place within the church and her liturgy, but also in our own life.
From Sirach we were told about the sieve which was shaken. A sieve is used for straining in order that what is strained may become separated. The Gospel of Saint Matthew did not speak of a sieve, but instead gives the image of a winnowing fan which has a similar purpose, separation. In the words of the Evangelist: “His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
The Lenten season assists us in being truthful with ourself in order that we may be willing to under this period of transformation. We must separate that which is found to be harmful within us from our life. We cannot simply remain content with where we are in the here and now. We cannot make up the excuse that my sins are too deeply intrenched for there to ever be hope. We cannot forget about the urgency that is our life for there will come the time when we will be called home to God. We may have filled our life with the spirit of relativism (the rejection of truth), but with God there is finite truth to which I hope we strive to orient our life on this earth.
Saint Luke’s Gospel reminds that if we are to undergo transformation and become a true disciple of the Lord that we must come to know and love the Lord. A blind man cannot lead the blind. “No disciple is superior to the teacher.” We must perceive the wooden beam in our own eye. Must bear good fruit instead of allowing ourself to become corrupted to the point that the fruit which we bear is found to be evil and unacceptable in the sight of the Lord.
In the few days which still remain before we enter into the Lenten season and the time of transformation for the Easter season may we prepare our heart to enter into this period of time. We must ask ourself how we can we use the ancient practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in order that we may better come to know the teacher, restore sight to our eyes, and begin to bear good fruit to the world?
If you plan on given up something such as chocolate or something similar I ask if this is enough to make you grow in virtue or are you simply trying to fulfill the perceived law of what you must do? Lent is not here to make us miserable, but more Christ like. Through practices such as prayer, fasting, and almsgiving we make use of the sieve to strain away all which is unnecessary and harmful within our life. In this manner we become purified in the Lord’s sight.
It is also important the we undergo purification via the sacrament of confession. Hopefully this is already a sacrament which you frequent. Through confession we are freed from the chains of sin and are given strength in order that we may resist it in the future. Through participation in this sacrament and the Lenten season our life is in transition from sin towards virtue and death towards life. May we be willing to separate all that holds us back from the Lord from our life and thus be sent into the world as true disciples of the Lord.