March 21 – Fifth Sunday of Lent
On this Fifth Sunday of Lent, we enter the last full week of Lent. Next weekend is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. Lent ends when we start the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening, this year on April 1. It is time to reflect on how well we have done with our resolutions for this Lent. If not so well, perhaps a prayer St. Augustine recited resonates with our experience: “Grant me chastity and self-control, but please not yet” (Confessions 8.7.17). This prayer probably resonates with some of us. We admire goodness and righteousness. We respect them and aspire to them, but we also enjoy our faults. If they weren’t enjoyable, we wouldn’t keep kicking the proverbial can down the road! Perhaps the title of St. Augustine’s “Confessions” should be re-titled: “The Procrastination of Perfection!” With Augustine, we pray for conversion from our sins, but not yet.
In our First Reading today from the Prophet Jeremiah, there is an astounding message to the people of Israel who kept breaking their covenant with God time and time again. Jeremiah proclaims that God is going to make a new covenant: “All, from least to greatest, shall know me….for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.” This is great news for those who truly desire conversion and salvation. For those of us who relish our sins, however, it is unnerving. We do not wish to be made perfect yet. Just a bit longer. That’s all we ask, right? But, as Jesus answers in the gospel reading, “The hour has come.” During this final week of Lent before Palm Sunday, may we not kick the can any further down the road! Instead, be reconciled to God, go to confession, and pray for a clean heart! The last confessions before Easter are: Tuesday, March 23 – 7pm to 8pm; Saturday, March 27 – 9am to 10am and 1:30pm to 2:30pm; Sunday, March 28 – 4pm to 5:30pm; Tuesday, March 30 – 8:30am to 10am and 7pm to 9pm.
May I ask for your prayers on Thursday, March 25. I will be having surgery to remove part, or all of my thyroid. Medical tests I had in December when I had my gallbladder removed, and tests subsequent to that, indicate that I have nine granulomas in my lungs that are not cancerous and do not need to be treated. Two of the granulomas, one being the largest at 3cm, are in my thyroid and causing problems. So, part or all of my thyroid needs to be removed. Because this surgery requires general anesthesia, I will be in the hospital overnight and discharged the next day. I should be just fine, I better be! As I am preaching all the Masses Palm Sunday weekend, March 27 & 28.
Have a blessed last full week of Lent!