Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Fr. Jon
Homily transcription: 

     There is a saying we have all heard that coaches sometimes use:  "The best defense is a good offense."  Well, this is true of our spiritual life as well.  The best defense is a good offense.

     It is common and human to struggle with some chronic or habitual sin throughout our life, to confess the same dumb sins over and and over and over again. Often we think that if we just had more willpower, if we just tried harder, we could change, we could grow, we could become holy.

     I am old enough to know that this does not work.  The best way to be free of sin is not to obsess about the sin.  The best way to be free of sin is to love, to learn to love in a self-forgetful way, to focus not on ourselves but on the love of God and needs of others.

     Lent begins with a Gospel that gives us three powerful ways to do this. Prayer is to be in a daily relationship, a daily conversation with the Lord.  It is to get real with God so he can show he is real to us.  Fasting is to simplify our lives, to control our desires, to deny ourselves.  This is so we can feel our radical need for God, who is our deepest desire.  Almsgiving flows from fasting, is to give to those in need, not just our money but something more difficult for many of us, to give our time.

     When we structure these three disciplines into our Lent, and when we structure these three disciplines in our lives, then we change, then we grow, then we have a shot at becoming holy.  This is not because of our willpower, but because of God's grace invited into our lives.

     The best defense is a good offense. This Lent, let's go on offense.