Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time | February 27, 2022
“You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”
– Luke 6:42b
Brothers and Sisters,
I wanted to thank those who contributed or pledged on behalf of the 2022 Annual Appeal for Catholic Ministries: Let Us Give Thanks to the Lord Our God. Your generosity now and historically through your support of OLPH’s weekly offertory, Capital Projects, as well as additional charities and ministries serving the wider Church is inspiring. And on behalf of the beneficiaries of our AACM rebate, our sister parishes, St. Veronicas and Our Lady of the Nativity, our parish school students, and the evangelization works of ChristLife — thank you!
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus teaches us how not to be a hypocrite. Indeed, to be called a hypocrite is unsettling yet, offers a chance for humble reflection. Now, ask yourself. With humility, do you see yourself as the person with the speck or the plank in their eye? In either instance, I have good news. Despite our hang-ups, hypocrisy, or hurts, God’s love for us transcends our transgressions!” And if you struggle to name the root of your transgressions (as do I), ask Jesus for help to identify them. But wait, there’s more; it’s not just about our pathway to holiness. We all have a role and responsibility in assisting one another to grow in virtue. Proof of this lies buried in the “less” essential words belonging to the Prayer of Absolution said by the priest at the Sacrament of Reconciliation. After invoking God and calling to mind His mercy, the priest exclaims, “through the ministry of the Church, may God give you pardon and peace.” Now, pause a second, and reread, “through the ministry of the Church….” Remember, through our baptisms, we enter into the Body of Christ, the living Church. Let us minister to one another, inviting each of us to receive and accept the gift of God’s mercy.
Next week, March 2nd is Ash Wednesday, and with it, the sacred season of Lent, one of penance and preparation, begins. Can we greet these next forty days united as a team? Members of one body, praying and offering each other encouragement?
To that intention, after you’ve invited the Holy Spirit in prayer, to make it known what specific ways you should be praying, fasting, and offering almsgiving over the next forty days, call upon your personal teammates. Ask your spouse, parents, or friends for their honest feedback on your Lenten plans. Remain open to their suggestions to trim back or go deeper to avoid complacency. At the heart of the process, try to be flexible and pastoral, both with others and yourself. Remember, it is our God of mercy who calls on us to repent and renew our relationship with Him and with each other, all members of the Body of Christ!
A few other Lenten notes. Please find OLPH’s Ash Wednesday Mass times along with a list of our varied and thoughtful Lenten offerings at www.OLPHParish.org/lent-2022 or in the printed Lenten packet available for you to take home. Also, know that ashes will be placed directly on foreheads this year unless the recipient requests no contact. Then, ashes will be sprinkled over the top of the head, avoiding physical connection.
Finally, as your pastor and friend, I offer the following prayer as we make our Lenten journey together:
“Almighty and ever-living God,
you invite us deeper into your world,
your people, your Lent.
May this time be one of outward focus;
seeking you in those, we often ignore.
Help us live a Lent focused on freedom, generosity, and encounter.
Give us hearts hungry to serve you
and those who need what we have to give.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Rev. Michael S. Triplett