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The period of Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving

Feb 18

Written by:
2/18/2018 12:20 AM  RssIcon

And so it begins, the long trek of forty days through the wilderness of Lent. The period of Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving has begun so that we can approach the great High Holy Days of the Triduum and Easter with hearts made new and sprits refreshed.

This year, we are journeying through the Gospel of St. Mark. What always strikes me in this Gospel in particular is the sense of ‘hurry.’ It seems as if every line of the Gospel has a sense of ‘and then Jesus did this…’ immediately followed by ‘and then He did that…’ with another trip here and another miracle there. St. Mark does not include the long discourses and speeches that the other three Gospel writers include, Jesus is too much a man of action in this Gospel.

In Biblical Greek, however, that ‘and then he did…’ has a stronger connotation than just linking two disparate passages together. The Greek work ‘Kai’ carries with it a sense of immediacy, the follow event does not just ‘happen,’ it happens now.

In Mark’s account of the life and ministry of Jesus, it is not just the events that happen now, but there is also an immediacy of response, too. When Jesus calls, he expects and a response to happen now as well, as we see in this weekend’s Gospel passage: ‘Repent and believe in the Gospel’ now!

Lent gives us this opportunity to react to the call of Jesus to make this repentance, to make this change, to encounter Jesus, especially in the midst of our struggles to hear where He is calling us.

In particular for this year, I would like to offer the challenge of bringing those hidden areas of struggle to the Lord. In the ongoing formation that I have been receiving over the last few years, I have become more and more aware of those struggles in the lives of so many. Struggles with pornography, with alcohol, with money and/or finances; even to struggles with fidelity and integrity.

All I can say: Jesus is stronger and more powerful than those struggles and He wants to bring you to freedom from them! Luckily, I have been given lots of tools and resources to assist those struggling with any type of addiction to help you find freedom in Christ. Please come and talk to me, as

I feel that this is becoming a very personal and profound part of my life and ministry as a priest.

In short, now is the time to begin the journey to freedom, joy and holiness. Despite past sins and afflictions. Despite the shame that seeks to trap and imprison. Despite that voice that says ‘you can’t be free of this!’ In Jesus Christ, Yes you can!

Think of St. Paul, he orchestrated the murder of St. Stephen, yet he became the greatest evangelizer in the history of the Church. What can Jesus do with you, if you but allow Him into that prison? Now is the time of salvation, now is the time for repentance, now is the time of fulfillment!

All of those other things of this world can never suffice, but they will only ever demand more and more of your heart, soul and life.

Jesus, on the other hand, gives life to those who come to him. Have the courage to bring those weaknesses to him to find that freedom He desires to give. And if I can help with that, please let me.

God Bless
Fr. Kyle Schnippel

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Re: Why do we place a white pall on the casket of the deceased at funeral Masses?
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