Message from our Pastor

Pastor’s Message – Church of Saint Benedict

February 16, 2024
Friday after Ash Wednesday
 
Grant, almighty God, through the yearly observances of holy Lent, that we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct pursue their effects. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.
 
Collect for the Mass on the First Sunday of Lent

 
Thank you for the outstanding response to our Ash Wednesday Masses! It was great to see so many people starting the sacred season of Lent by participating in the Church’s liturgy that day. Please continue to reach out to personally invite people to both Sunday Mass and our parish’s Lenten devotions, such as Stations of the Cross on Friday nights.
 
The upcoming Gospel reading for Lent speaks of Jesus’ forty days of prayer and fasting in the desert before the start of His public ministry. This is the basis of our forty days of intensified prayer and fasting in Lent before starting Holy Week and the Easter Season.
 
In Mark 1:12-15, we’re first told that, while in the desert for forty days, Satan tempts Jesus by trying to compromise His relationship with God. When the period of fasting is completed, Jesus emerges to proclaim, “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
 
This brief Scripture passage reminds us that spiritual battle is part of the Christian life. On multiple levels, we are tempted daily to compromise our relationship with God. This combat against evil includes our tendencies to sin and our rejection of Satan and all his empty promises.
 
We often believe that we’re not up to the task, but Lent reminds us that our weapons in this battle are: persevering in prayer, fasting, and the works of mercy. These are nourished in the sacramental life of the Church, especially in the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. God is on our side. The ultimate victory in this battle is won through the Cross of Christ. In the victory of the Cross, the kingdom of God is revealed.
 
In last Sunday’s homily, I quoted from a commentary on the Gospel of Mark by Dr. Mary Healy. Concerning the meaning of the kingdom of God, Dr. Healy states that this kingdom “is wherever God’s will is done, which already takes place fully in heaven but begins on earth in every heart that surrenders to him (God).”
 
Lent is an opportunity to surrender to God again. We express it in our prayer, penance, and fasting. This renewal prepares us for our promises of baptism that take place in the Easter Sunday Mass. Once again, we will publically proclaim our rejection of Satan and all his empty promises. In Christ our Savior the kingdom of God is at hand.
 
Lenten Speaker Series & Stations of the Cross
 
Join us on Fridays during Lent for a speaker series on the topic of the Eucharist. We begin with a meatless meal at 6:00 PM in McGuire Hall (this week served by the Challenge Girls). At 6:30 PM, Deacon Dave Johnson will speak on the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist. Afterward, we will gather in the church for Stations of the Cross beginning at 7:00 PM. All are welcome.
 
Rite of Election
 
Pray for those participating in the Rite of Election this Sunday at Holy Family Cathedral as they prepare to be received into the Church at the Easter Vigil.
 
Faith & Works Appeal
 
Thank you to all who have so far made a pledge to the Faith & Works Appeal which supports the various ministries of the Diocese. You are still welcome to place your pledge cards in the regular collection at Mass this Sunday if you haven’t done so yet.
 
Twenty-Four Hours with the Lord & Night of Mercy
 
In addition to the usual parish confession times, there are two extra opportunities for making a good confession during Lent. St. Thomas More Parish (at 2720 South 129th East Avenue in Tulsa) is hosting 24 hours of adoration and confessions heard in both English and Spanish. It starts Tuesday, February 20 at 10:00 AM and continues to Wednesday, February 21 at 10:00 AM. All are welcome.
 
On Wednesday, February 21, our parish will host the Night of Mercy. It begins at 6:30 PM with music in the church, followed by adoration and confessions in either English or Spanish from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM. It is sponsored by the ACTS Retreat Team. All are welcome.
 
Together in Holiness
 
Our parish will host the Together in Holiness Conference on Saturday, February 24, from 9:30 AM to 4:15 PM. Sponsored by the Diocese in cooperation with the St. John Paul II Foundation, this conference is for both married and engaged couples who desire to grow in holiness and learn to form their children in the Catholic faith. For more information and to register visit togetherinholiness.org/tulsa or contact conference coordinator Heather Grimes at heather@forlifeandfamily.org or at (832) 779-1070.
 
Catholic Men’s Conference
 
The Oklahoma Catholic Men’s Conference will be Saturday, March 9, in Norman. Among the guest speakers are Chris Stefanik and Jeff Cavins. For more information and to register you can visit catholicmen.net.
 
God bless and keep you safe.
 
Father Bryan