Friday, February 24, 2006


The Church’s preparation for the holy season of Lent reaches its conclusion with today’s liturgy. Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and, on this solemn day, the Church awakens us from our slothful slumber. We are signed with ashes with the prayer: “Remember man! Thou are dust and unto dust thou shall return!”

In the Introit of the Mass, we beseech God: “Be our Protector, and a house of refuge to save me.” Just as God delivered the Israelites and Joseph, He will deliver us. In the Collect, we pray that God will release us from our sins and guard us from all adversity.

We are beset with adversity and perils from all sides. The world about us, which becomes increasingly pagan and Godless, seeks to devour us. We are living in a “Culture of Death.” Yet, through it all, we have in Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Jesus, the Savior of the World, will never abandon us.

In the Epistle, Saint Paul teaches us of Love, the most fundamental of Christian principles. God is Love and He has made us for Himself. Without love we can never find happiness, for the alternative is hate. Indeed, hell can be described as a state of eternal hatred and banishment from God. In the eternal inferno, which is filled with hate, there is not a shred of love!

Faith cannot exist without love. Saint Paul tells us: “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” Paul goes on to say that, if we had faith that could move mountains but have not love, we are nothing. Nothing!

Lest we become disheartened by our lack of charity, the liturgy then invokes the 99th Psalm. “Sing joyfully to the Lord, all the earth - - - Come in before His presence with exceeding joy. Know that the Lord is our God! He made us. We are His people! The Church never lets us stay down too long. She is quick to give us a dramatic reminder that God loves us. Despite our human weakness and sinfulness, He will never abandon us.

God’s infinite love is demonstrated beautifully in today’s Gospel story. The blind man hears that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by. “JESUS, SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME!” The more the people tried to restrain him, the louder he cried out: “JESUS, SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME!”

Pope Saint Gregory the Great says that the blind man in today’s Gospel symbolizes the human race. He is you and I. Because of the sin of our First parents we have been blinded. Our solidarity in sin makes our condition more perilous. Despite this, Jesus Christ is the Light of the World. Just as the blind man cried out, we too cry out to Jesus. Our Blessed Lord will restore our sight also for this is His mission. Jesus Christ is the love and the mercy of God Who has become man. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World. With hearts filled with a longing for love, we too can cry out: ‘JESUS, SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME!”

Father Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.


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