Lent: A Time to be Better.

02-23-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

My family and I want to thank everyone who offered their condolences and said a prayer for my Uncle Angelo. It was a blessed privilege to offer his Funeral Mass.
Seeing so many people pay their respects and speak so well of him was both comforting and inspiring.

As usual, my faith and my family were such a blessing and source of strength at this time. This parish, my spiritual family, has also been a big help. I really don’t know what people do without family, or faith, at times like this.

Several people who knew my uncle told me he was the kind of man who made them want to be better. They spoke about his goodness to his family, his faith, and his patience, which made them want to be better at those things! It also made me think about Lent, which has just begun.

Lent is a time for all of us to ‘be better.’ All the things we do during Lent are intended to make us better Christians. Looking at Lent in this simple way might be especially helpful this year, when many people must still be careful about coming around crowds of people. We can always work at being better, whether we’re at Church or home alone!

For those who can come to Church this Lent, I encourage you to do so. Daily Mass is offered every weekday at 6:45 AM, 8 AM, and 12:10 PM. There are also Daily Masses on Monday evenings at 7 PM and in Spanish on certain Tuesday evenings. The Bible readings and little homily we hear at Daily Mass can help us be better Christians, as can the grace we get from receiving Jesus in Holy Communion at Mass.

The Stations of the Cross is another Lenten devotion that can help us be better Christians. Reflecting on the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on that first Good Friday can inspire us to sacrifice more willingly for Him and others. It can also help us be more thankful to Jesus!

The Novena to Saint Joseph that will be prayed from March 11 – March 19th can help us be better in a couple of ways. After our Blessed Mother, few saints can give us as good an example as can Saint Joseph. Listening to the little homilies and meditations about him, and putting the lessons into practice, will help us be better Christians.

And of course, going to Confession always helps us be better. In Confession, Jesus makes us better by forgiving our sins. He also gives us the grace to be better in the future, which is a big help to being a better Christian.

Please note that I completely understand that some people simply cannot yet come back to Church. Such people should not feel guilty at all about not being able to participate in these devotions in Church. Indeed, having to watch Mass on TV or the computer, or pray the Stations of the Cross privately at home, or practicing Perfect Contrition might well be an extra penance you can offer to God this Lent, knowing that He both sees and appreciates the prayers and good works you do in secret!

Many of you who cannot come to Church in person have been very good at practicing charity from home. Thanks for all the envelopes you send in, not just for the regular offering but for things like Food for the Needy which benefits the poor. Charity is always a good way to be better Christians – because it makes us more like Christ, Who gave everything for us!

Please take a moment to pray a Hail Mary for me today – and every day. I draw inspiration and strength from the prayers that so many of you offer for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Let’s also keep praying for the sick and for peace.

Have a great week!
Fr. John