Friday, February 20, 2015

"If Jesus Were Alive . . ."

Friday greetings from the "will-Spring-ever-arrive-it-is-way-too-cold" Midwest.

While reading an article about Wednesday evening's prayer vigil outside the cathedral in San Francisco, I chuckled, then felt a bit sad when I read this line:

"N., . . . , a senior at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep in San Francisco and one of the event leaders, said the participating students are 'learning and living the Catholic values of acceptance and love' at their schools. 'We hope the archbishop hears this,' she said. She added that if Jesus were alive, 'he would be here next to us.' "

Ouch. I am hoping that this young Catholic student was misquoted. "If Jesus were alive . . ."

It struck me because of the struggles many of us have been going through lately with the acts of terror that continue in our fragile world, wondering where our Lord is in all of this. Pope Francis, in this morning's homily at Mass, had this to say:

"Do you have room in your heart for prisoners in jail? Do you pray for them so that the Lord can help them to change their life? May the Lord accompany us on our Lenten journey so that our external observance becomes a profound renewal of the Spirit. That's what we prayed for. That the Lord may give us this grace."

While I know that the pope was asking us to pray for people who are actually incarcerated, my thoughts went to those who are imprisoned by ideologies, ideologies that espouse murder and terrorism. Perhaps this is where the Lord is calling me this Lent. While I often feel helpless, like there is nothing I can do to help bring an end to terrorism, perhaps the "profound renewal of the Spirit" for me means praying for those who are imprisoned by ideology.

As the First Sunday of Lent comes upon us, let's pray for one another and those in such prisons.

Over the weekend and into early next week, I am leading the parish mission, beginning with scripture reflections at each weekend Mass at Our Lady, Mother of the Church parish here in Chicago.

I hope and pray that my heart will be opened to this profound renewal and that the hearts of those who gather at the parish will be given the grace that abounds in this holy season.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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