March 31, 2019 - Pastor Message04/18/2019
“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her” (Isaiah 66:10).
Halftime. The midpoint of a game when the players and coaches step away from the field or court, get some rest and refreshment, evaluate how they have been doing so far, and plan what adjustments they can make in the second half to bring home the victory. Many a game has been won or lost because of what teams did or didn’t do with the opportunities provided by halftime.
This weekend we experience the halftime of Lent. Called Laetare (Rejoice) Sunday, from of the entrance antiphon of Mass, Isaiah 66:10, this weekend marks the midpoint of our Lenten journey: three weeks down, three weeks to go. Like halftime, it provides us with an opportunity to take a timeout from our Lenten observance, to get some rest and refreshment, to evaluate how we’ve been doing so far, and to make the adjustments we need in the second half of the season to make our Lent as fruitful as possible.
So, how has your Lent been going? What have you done in the area of prayer to intensify and refocus your prayer life? How has it been working? What might you do over the next three weeks to make your prayer life even better? What have you done in the area fasting? Have you been abstaining from meat on Fridays? Have you engaged in other acts of self-sacrifice? Have you reflected in your prayer on the purpose of our Lenten fasting and how you can make your fasting more meaningful and fruitful?
What have you done in the area of charity? How have you offered the gifts of time, talent, and treasure that you have been given back to God in a more intentional and more generous way by offering them in the service of others? How could you do so in an even more generous and meaningful way?
Don’t be upset or feel guilty if, in your self-evaluation, you find that you haven’t really given this Lent your best effort so far. This is halftime. What we’ve done or failed to do in the first half is behind us. It’s time to plan for the second half and to make the adjustments we need to bring home the victory of a truly enriching Lenten season. Prayerfully consider what adjustments you can make, and commit to making the next three weeks the best Lent ever.
Fr. Marc Stockton