Fr. Christopher Onuoha, Pastor l 702 West 11th Street l Neligh, NE 68756 l 402-887-4521
Meets every other week on Sundays from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
in the parish hall area.
Meetings are at 8 p.m. the first Tuesday each month
Meetings are at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month
Meetings are at 7 p.m. the third Thursday each month
Lent - The Journey of Life
Lent is upon us again. The 40 days and 40 nights of Lent speaks to me of our journey in this earthly life. On Ash Wednesday we all received ashes on our heads. St. Pope John Paul II once commented that receiving ashes is a simple liturgical rite, but is very profound because if its penitential meaning. He said the act is filled with spiritual allusions and is an important sign of conversion and inner renewal. It is an act that begs God: Create in me a clean heart, O God… take not your holy Spirit from me. Lent comes with some excitement as well, because kids are constantly telling us what they are giving up for Lent. I see this is a sign of their willingness to make sacrifices. Christian discipleship is costly; it calls for sacrifice, that is, giving up something of value to us for the sake of Jesus, and for the good of others. Jesus told His disciples He would suffer greatly in the hands of religious leaders, and be killed, and will rise of the third day. Then He invites us to take up our cross daily and follow Him. St. Paul urges us: by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Rom 12:1). It is acts done in the name of Jesus that gives meaning to our Lenten, liturgical and spiritual exercises.
To the people who complained: why do we fast, and you see it not? Afflict ourselves, and you take no notice? Isaiah the Prophet said: when you fast and do spiritual acts, you carry out your own pursuits, and you end up quarrelling fighting, hating, complaining, blaming, accusing, and other wicked acts. He said that a true sacrifice is one that must lead to genuine love of God and neighbor. One that would cause us to die to self, intentionally! Paul’s words in Romans 12 mean that our sacrifices should dispose our hearts to the transformative action and power of the Holy Spirit, so that God’s love is shed in our hearts (Rom 5:5). In this way we are able, truly and consciously, to love God and neighbor. For if we truly love neighbor, then the Golden Rule, Do to others as you would want them to do to you, will be our norm of life and morality. This has to be an intentional act for it to be meritorious. That is, we cannot intentionally act against love.
Lent is a journey in this direction, the perfection of love in us. So we need perseverance, we need hope that does not disappoint. As we know, this journey ends at death. But the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, His obedient and humble death on the Cross has won for us the graces of hope and perseverance in this life, since beyond death we can no longer merit. Jesus said, fast in secret, pray in secret, and give arms in secret, and the Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
30 minutes before all Sat. and
Sun. Masses. After 7 p.m. Mass Sat. and 10 a.m. Mass Sun.
15 minutes before weekday Masses
Thurs. evenings in Lent
Sat: 5 p.m. | Sun.: 10 a.m.
During the months of: Dec., Jan., Feb., June, July and Aug.
Sat: 7 p.m. | Sun: 8 a.m.
During the months of: Mar., Apr., May, Sept., Oct. and Nov.
Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
702 W 11th St, P.O. Box 259
Neligh, NE 68756
Fr. Christopher Onuoha, Pastor