In John 4:1–26, we read the story of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at the well. This woman provides us with a great example of humility. Deep down she knew she was living a sinful life, but she was still willing and open to hear what Jesus had to say about her search for happiness, which had so far left her empty.
Word from Pope Francis
"How is your health, you who are a good Christian?”— "Good, thank God; but also, when I need to, I immediately go to the hospital and, since I belong to the public health system, they see me right away and give me the necessary medicines.”—“It’s a good thing, thank the Lord. But tell me, have you thought about those who don’t have this relationship with the hospital and when they arrive, they have to wait six, seven, eight hours?”
Pleasure. A delicious meal, a beautiful symphony at the theater, a hot shower after a long day in the cold. With five senses and billions of nerves in the human body, there are an infinite number of ways to experience pleasure from the world around us. What a wonderful part of the human experience, am I right?
Mother Teresa tended to broken souls and bodies at every age and from every walk of life. From the Indian children at Nirmala Shishu Bhavan to the elderly in Nirmal Hriday (Home for the Dying), the Missionaries of Charity still uplift and comfort the truly desperate and helpless. They live and work right in the struggle, sinking their roots deep where they have been planted out of love for God. Often there is no miracle cure, not even a deathbed conversion for all the love and prayer they pour into their work. Yet they remain faithful to the work they believe God calls them to do.
Anyone who has worked in a Catholic parish knows what to expect on and around Ash Wednesday: telephone calls at all hours, strangers randomly showing up for ashes, folks leaving after receiving their ashes, but before receiving the Eucharist.
Among the “regulars,” there’s a lot of eye-rolling and headshaking, and an overwhelming desire to figure out why, on this day, getting ashes is the single-minded compulsion of every Catholic on the planet.
Fat Tuesday, for many Catholics, is an exercise in excess. It's a day where many eat probably more than they should before a season of sacrifice begins. But what are the Catholic roots behind it?
Mardi Gras, literally "Fat Tuesday," has grown in popularity in recent years as a raucous, sometimes hedonistic event. But its roots lie in the Christian calendar, as the "last hurrah" before the season of sacrifice begins on Ash Wednesday.
That's why the enormous party in New Orleans, for example, ends abruptly at midnight on Tuesday, with battalions of streetsweepers pushing the crowds out of the French Quarter towards home.
"Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, Return to the Lord, your God" Joel 2:12, 13.
Lent is not an intellectual exercise, but an affair of the heart. Ash Wednesday comes around each year. We get ashes. We remember prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We say we’ll do better at something, or not do something else at all.
Whatever sin or addiction has plagued us since the turn of the year, the one we have not yet managed to get rid of despite our New Year’s resolution to somehow dislodge it at the roots, Lent presents us with another chance. But how?
The serpent’s bite was a deadly one. The venom had worked its way deep into the heart of the entire human race, doing its gruesome work. The antivenom was unavailable until Christ appeared. One drop was all that was needed, so potent was this antidote. Yet it was not like him to be stingy. He poured out all he had, down to the last drop. The sacrifice of his entire life, poured out at the foot of the cross—this was the Son’s answer to the problem of sin.
Image: Orthodox faithful in Bulgaria light candles with jars of honey Feb. 10. Pope Francis says the "crucifix is not a decoration" but that redemption is possible because Jesus took on the sins of the world. (CNS photo/Vassil Donev, EPA) See POPE MASS CROSS March 15, 2016.
She was young, attractive, athletic, dressed in spiffy, hot-pink tennis duds—and crying. As other members of her tennis team gathered around sympathetically, the woman explained that she was “too enmeshed” with her son, a bright boy who had serious problems with social and motor skills.