First Sunday of Lent – Mar. 10, 2019
As we enter into this Lenten season of penance and self-denial, we’re reminded that the God we follow is no stranger to these things. In this Sunday’s Gospel, we see the temptations of Jesus which have parallels throughout Scripture and in our own lives. The apostle John warns against temptations to sensual lust, enticement of the eyes, and a pretentious life (cf. 1 John 2:16). Before Eve plucks the fruit from the tree, she hears it is good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom (cf. Genesis 3:6). The temptations of Jesus are our own. “Turn these stones to bread.” Here is the lure of bodily comfort, like good food or sensual lust. It’s the simplest of temptations because it’s instinctual. We want good for our bodies! But there may be times these bodily goods don’t serve the higher good for our souls. The leap “from the temple parapet” would entice the eye of the person watching. A feat like this would prove Jesus’ Messianic ability. His popularity could be a shortcut to the cross. We might not be daredevils, but we want people to like us and be impressed by us. Do we sacrifice our values along the way? To “bow and worship” the devil – and so claim power and a pretentious life – seems like a dramatic temptation. Not everyone may feel enticed by power in the professional sense, but all of us want control. A volunteer team can feel just as intense as the boardroom! How often do we prefer to be in control of our lives (and perhaps even the lives of others), rather than allow God to be God? When we consider areas of temptation and sin, it’s not to feel ashamed. The temptation in the desert reminds us that we are not alone and that the strength of Jesus can be our strength, too.
With Fr. Michael away this weekend and next, Fr. Brian is writing this week’s column & Fr. Jerry will be writing next week.
The Transfiguration of Jesus is clearly important. The Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke describe it (Mt 17:1-8; Mk 9:2-8; Lk 9:28-36); the opening of the Gospel according to John alludes to it (Jn 1:14); and Peter himself refers to it in his second epistle (2 Pt 1:16-18).
When all four Gospels and the second-ever papal encyclical letter all refer to something, we know it is important! But why the emphasis?
The Transfiguration is unique. It is the only miracle that happens to Jesus. An episode of peak importance, the Transfiguration literally occurs at the summit of a high mountain. God is shown to be God of the living to Whom all are alive (cf. Lk 20:38) as Moses (who had died) and Elijah (who had been taken up to heaven without first dying) both appear and converse with Jesus. Moreover, Moses personifies the Law and Elijah personifies the Prophets, and both the Law and the Prophets point to Jesus. This testimony of instruction and prophecy is confirmed by the Father’s voice identifying Jesus as the Son and commanding that Peter, James, and John listen to Jesus. Finally, the glory of the Transfiguration is related to the glory of the Resurrection both because Moses and Elijah spoke of what Jesus was going to accomplish in Jerusalem and because of the disciples’ initial silence on the matter until after Jesus rose from the dead. I’m sure this transformative experience must have been something for Peter, James, and John to hold on to with hope between the first Good Friday and the first Easter.
At the Transfiguration, the temporal and the eternal come together with Jesus as the connecting point. As we continue our Lenten season, let’s focus on, and trust in, Jesus Whose grace can transfigure us now and for all time.
God Bless you, Fr. Brian
eGiving through Parish Giving!
Thanks so much to those parishioners who have signed up for “Enhanced Stewardship through Electronic Funds Transfer” for their financial donations. You schedule your offerings – it can be weekly, monthly, quarterly – whatever is best for your financial situation. There are no more envelopes to remember or last-minute check writing! Electronic giving is safe and easy for you and gives our parish steady financial assistance. If you wish to enroll just visit www.icchackensack.com and click on the Parish Giving logo. There are brochures in the back of church or visit Parish Giving at www.parishgiving.org.
SCRIPTURAL REFLECTIONS ON STEWARDSHIP
I have now brought you the first fruits of the products of the soil which you, O Lord, have given to me.“
This line from the Old Testament offers two challenges. First, do you give to God from your “first fruits”, the best that you have to offer, or do you give from what is leftover? Second, do you recognize that everything you have has been given to you by God? Ask God for a grateful and generous heart, every day, in all circumstances.
PLEASE PRAY FOR THE SICK
That God will relieve their suffering and restore them to health. Please pray for: Kellie Salata, Kelly Chinchar, Jessica, Carol Mangino, Gloria, Daniel Breslin, Stanley, Bonnie, Helen Traina, Joseph Marrone, Bill Marshall, Anthony, Michael, Joseph, Christine Morrison, Jessica Esopo, Jack McShera, Theresa McPeak, Walter Eckel, Steve, Pat, Audra.
Sharing God’s Blessings Annual Appeal
This year our parish goal is $12,179. Our pledges to date are $3,045. Please be as generous as possible. Thanks you for any help you can provide. If you choose to donate online, please visit www.rcan.org/sharing.
Opportunities for Parish Support
There are several ways you can help support our parish and honor loved ones at the same time. As you may have noticed on the first Sunday of every month in our bulletin, we thank the donors of our Altar Gifts. You can donate the Bread & Wine, Altar Flowers or the Sanctuary Lamp in a two week block for $50 in someone’s memory. We have blocks open for this year.
We also have to purchase a new Easter candle each year (the tall candle on the altar) at a cost of $300-$400 which can also be donated in someone’s memory. You do not have to fund the entire amount, anything you wish to donate towards the purchase of our Easter candle is appreciated. If you wish to honor someone in any of these ways, please call the rectory.
SEPARATED/DIVORCED PARISH SUPPORT GROUPS ARE STARTHING THEIR SPRING SESSIONS!
“It’s true…there’s no such thing as “Catholic Divorce”…but millions of Catholics DO get civilly divorced. And it affects and hurts us all. Maybe you or someone you know has suffered the breakdown of the marriage and family, or maybe they are going through it right now. No matter how long it’s been, the Church IS HERE to help. The Archdiocese of Newark currently has 13 parishes who offer a support group for the separated/divorced and these groups will be starting during the next few months. For a list of these groups, please visit www.rcan.org/separateddivorced-support-groups or email or call Lauren.Egan@rcan.org 973-497-4327.
MASS INTENTIONS FOR THE WEEK
FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019
8:30 Veneranda Stefano by Mr. & Mrs. Pasquale Lisa
SATURDAY, MARCH 16, 2019
8:30 Annv. James, Nicola, Gemma & Michael Visci by the Family
5:00 pm Venere Stefano by Angelina Rizzo
SUNDAY, MARCH 17, 2019
8:00 Adelgunde Marshall by Mr. & Mrs. William Panagia
10:00 Venere Stefano by Francesca & Antonio Sari
12:00 Rosina Romano by the Family
MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2019
8:30 Annv. John Warga by the Goodman Family
TUESDAY, MARCH 19, 2019
8:30 In Honor of St. Joseph by the Barricella Family
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20, 2019
8:30 Angelo Totaro by Liza Pasquala
THURSDAY, MARCH 21,
8:30 Adelgunde Marshall by Marie & Mike Nasta
FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2019
8:30 Rosemarie Giotis by Maria Giotis
SATURDAY, MARCH 23, 2019
8:30 Justin Duffy by Marie Goodman & Family
5:00 pmAnnv. Pat Maglio by Bobbie Pizza
SUNDAY, MARCH 24, 2019