Chaplain’s Message

Chaplain’s Message
We are in the holy season of Lent. Lent is an important season in the church to make improvements in our
lives for the better. Throughout the year we may make improvements to our homes, to our cars and
machinery, to our bank accounts, but we need at time to concentrate on improving our family lives and our
spiritual lives. We know many make resolutions to use lent to break habits: to give up smoking, to lose
weight, to avoid alcohol all of which are good for our bodies. I know that when I went to the doctor with my
blood sugar readings for my diabetes the doctor asked me: “Why are the levels lower these months as
compared to those months?” I replied, “The lower months were Advent and Lent when I skipped snacks!”
Lent can improve our bodies. This year when I went to the Clergy Study days with the sling I was wearing
from my shoulder surgery, the priests asked about it and I told them that I was also going to have knee
replacement surgery on Ash Wednesday. The response of several of them was “So you are giving up
walking for Lent!” We all need to give up something but hopefully it is meant to replace it with something
better. We should not just focus on physical things but on spiritual things too. How is our spiritual life? How
is our spiritual health? How healthy is our relationship with God, the Church, the Mass, and the
Sacraments? We are in a 3 year period of Eucharistic renewal. The reason is that a survey said that only
about a third of Catholics believe that the Eucharist is REALLY JESUS. That is very poor. The Eucharist
is the whole summit and source of our faith. If we don’t believe in the Eucharist being Christ, then we don’t
believe in what Jesus and the church teaches. Our moral values disintegrate, and our lives, families, and
society fall apart as we see happening all around us today. So, if we want to improve our society, our
families, and ourselves spiritually we need to refocus on Jesus and recognize His presence and what He
did and does for us in our lives. So Lent is a good time to refocus to improve our spiritual bodies as we do
with braking bad habits and getting surgical implants to our physical bodies so we can function better and
live happier lives.
The Church gives us 3 areas to focus on. Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving (Charity). If we don’t get anything
out of the Mass, or if we have gotten out of the practice of attending Sunday and Holy Day Masses, it is
often because we have gotten out of the practice of daily prayer. As I mentioned at the meetings, If you
are invited to the home of a stranger, you often make an excuse not to go, or you find an excuse to leave
early because you don’t know them and their friends, you feel uncomfortable. But if you are invited to the
home of a friend you look forward to it, you enjoy your time with your friends and don’t want to leave. Their
home is your home. So, if we find Mass uncomfortable, if we don’t recognize Jesus is really there, it means
we are not friends of Jesus and we need to work on knowing Jesus. How do we do that? You become
friends by spending time with them. You need to give up other distractions this Lent that could take that
time so you have time to grow in friendship and love by prayer, going to Mass and Adoration, reading
Scripture, and studying your faith.
We need to fast. To fast not just from food and tobacco, but from TV, from spending time on the internet,
especially fast from our sins, from anything that takes the time we could give to being with God in our daily
lives and with our families. Those are the things we need to fast from. We need to go to Confession to
fast from the sins in our relationship with Jesus and others. We need to give them up. You are as sick as
the secrets you keep. If you have not gone to confession for a long time the poison builds up in your
attitudes and actions and kills your relationships with God and others. What is keeping you from prayer
and the Mass? What excuse are you giving? Then we need to take that time and spend it with God. Like
a friend we need conversations. Prayer is not just meal prayers, prayer is visiting through-out the day.
Would your wife be happy if you spoke only a few words to her once in a while before a meal? Don’t you
speak at the beginning of the day to share the plans? Call each other during the day to say how it is going?
Reflect on the end of the day on the good and fun things and the difficult things? We need to do this too
with Jesus. That is prayer, and then we need to listen! Does your wife ever say, “You are not listening to
me!” when your mind is on something else. Jesus wants to share His life with you too and how His day is
going. When you give up a TV show or time on the internet can you read a few paragraphs from one of
the Gospels, and see how Jesus’ day is going. When you do, you grow closer in friendship and then you
cannot wait to be with Him at His home, sharing in His meal, uniting yourself with Him and His family in the
Mass and Communion.
And then we have Almsgiving, realizing that we are all made in God’s image and likeness, we are all part
of the Body of Christ, the Church, we are all brothers and sisters and we all need each other. If one of your
brothers or sisters is in need, don’t you do what you can to aid them? People look at the suffering in the
world and wonder why doesn’t God do something? But He does, He gave everything to you so you can be
Jesus to the people around you and around the world by your caring and helping hands and charity. If we
see Jesus in others, we see Jesus sitting next to us in the Mass and can make Him feel welcome there,
as well as when we reach out to others in need because they are family. Lent is a time to give up things,
first of all, our sins in confession, and to give up not only our bad habits but our distractions as well. Lent
is a time to get to know Jesus by frequent prayers throughout the day and by sharing Jesus’ day by reading
a paragraph or 2 from one of the Gospels to get to know each other, so we feel comfortable being with
Jesus in the Mass and the Eucharist. And then welcoming Jesus in acts of charity, of kindness, of helping
those in need, not as strangers but as family. Then as we draw closer to Jesus and the Mass, we improve
our attitudes, our lives, our family lives, and our society, as we welcome God back in to take a world that
is dying from lack of God’s love, and give it a new resurrection, by bringing the life of Jesus back into our
lives, our families, and our society this Lent.
– Fr. Bob Mraz

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