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from fathers desk

Dear Parish Family,

And so it begins! The great season of Lent is upon us, a time to live our Christianity with greater intensity, to be especially zealous in our love for God and neighbor. The words of Elijah the great prophet (who we meet next week) ring out in my heart: “With zeal I am zealous for the Lord God of Hosts” (1 K 19:10)! My prayer is that our time deepening our prayer lives, our interior life, with the book I Heard God Laugh , will assist us to be especially fervent and zealous in our journey through Lent.

This Lent “Promises Fulfilled” is the title of our message series. We will focus on the first readings more than the Gospels and attend to how God communicates love for his people through the cutting and renewing of covenants. Covenants are solemn oaths exchanged between two parties. Marriage is the most accessible covenant to our modern minds. Marriage is meant to be permanent, faithful, and God-willing fruitful. God instituted marriage to be a sign for us of his forever love. Often in the Scriptures, God uses language related to marriage to speak of his faithfulness.

Covenants are powerful moments in salvation history when the Lord God extends his promise. God is good (all the time!). And God extends his merciful love to humanity again and again, even when we are not faithful to our side of the covenant. Explore the book of the prophet Hosea for a very apt and interesting symbolic marriage between Hosea and Gomer (Hos 1:2-3).

This weekend - the First Sunday of Lent - we hear of the great covenant God makes with Noah and his family ( Gn 9:8-15 ). As a sign of the promise, God places his bow (a rainbow) in the sky as a sign that never again shall the world be destroyed by flood. This covenant has cosmic dimensions. Not only is it made with Noah and his family but also with all living creatures. In these lines we see a divine recommitment to the world, seeking to rebalance what had gotten “thrown out of whack” by the sin of our first parents, and subsequent sins of their progeny. In paradise, a great harmony existed between God, humanity and the world. But our infidelity to the Lord’s command led to a rupture or wounding of that harmony. Now after the flood, the Lord seeks a kind of “reset” with Noah, his wife, and their sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth, with their wives.

This reality brings us to our weekly theme: build back better. Not only was it the campaign slogan of the Biden-Harris ticket, but it also aptly describes how the covenants grow and deepen over time. The first covenant was made between God and the first couple. Now God extends his merciful love to a total of 8 people, an extended family. Next week, we shall see how God tests Abraham to see if he shall remain faithful and become the “father of nations” that the Lord has promised. Thereafter, the nation of Israel and Moses come into focus. With each stage in salvation history, it seems that God extends his promise and grows the group with whom the covenant is made or renewed.

Over the coming weeks, I would invite you to pay particular attention to the first readings and how God is extending his merciful love to his people through key figures like Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and eventually Jesus.

Make is a great Lent!
Fr. Wilson