Third Sunday of Lent


This Sunday is the third Sunday of Lent and we are nearing the middle of the Lenten season. This Sunday’s gospel speaks about the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus refers to His body as a temple that will be destroyed but rise again after three days. A great “mid-Lent” reminder of the joy we look forward to on Easter Sunday and on the life-giving power of our Lord. Let us continue toward this joyous day by prayer, fasting, and charity.

During Lent we are invited to fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.  We do not perform these works to earn God’s pleasure or admittance into God’s presence. We already have that through what Jesus has done for us. Rather, our Lenten practices help us see and respond to those too hungry to fast, too scattered to pray, and too poor to give alms.

So, we ask ourselves:

• Do my Lenten observances make me more sensitive to those in need?

• Who are they and how shall I respond to them?

During Lent, we are called to fast, and pray, and to give alms.  Let us consider why we fast.

As penance – Throughout the Old Testament, people covered themselves in ashes, took off their fine clothes, and fasted to express their repentance from sin.

To make room for God – By emptying ourselves, even if just a little bit, we make room for God to enter our lives more fully.  When fasting and abstinence are hard, we are moved to turn to God in prayer for help.

To strengthen the will – Fasting is a spiritual discipline; just as physical exercise makes our body stronger, fasting strengthens our will. Practicing self-denial in small things strengthens our will to resist sin in other areas of our lives.

As preparation for mission – For Christians, fasting imitates the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert. Just as Jesus used this time to prepare for his public mission, fasting prepares us to continue His mission in the world.

In solidarity with the suffering Christ -Whatever small suffering we experience when we fast, brings us closer to the suffering Christ (and all people who suffer from hunger, malnutrition, and abuse daily).

Let us continue to faithfully live the Lenten journey as we journey to Easter.