Welcome Father burke masters
"Be it known to all who enter here
that Christ is the reason for this school…
He is the unseen but ever present teacher in its classes…
He is the model of its faculty and the inspiration of its students…"
Thank you so much for your warm welcome at St. Isaac Jogues. I am very excited to be your pastor and look forward to walking this journey of discipleship, evangelization, and faith in action together.
REFLECTIONS FROM THE PASTOR
It is time for our spiritual spring training! As Major League Baseball spring training begins in Florida and Arizona, I like to think of Lent as our spiritual spring training. We begin this penitential season, to prepare our hearts for the joyful celebration of Easter on April 9, 2023. It is a new beginning for each of us as we desire to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Even though the baseball players are professionals, spring training is a time to practice the basics, to get in shape, to be better players, to be better teammates, and to prepare for the long season ahead.
Similarly, Lent is a time for us to go back to the basics – prayer, fasting and almsgiving – even if we have been through Lent many times. Lent is a time to get into shape spiritually, to be better disciples, to love our fellow disciples, and to prepare for the long year ahead. Don’t allow this Lenten season to go by as just another time of the year, hoping to be a better Christian but without investing the time required. Be intentional about making it a time of renewal. Strive for heroic virtue, for holiness.
Today’s fundamental for our spiritual spring training is freedom that comes through obedience to God. Baseball players will progress when they listen to and obey the coach. Disciples of Christ will progress when they listen to and obey the Coach, God our Father.
In the Gospel reading from Matthew, Jesus went to the desert to fast and pray for forty days. The Holy Spirit led Him “into the desert to be tempted by the devil”. Was Jesus being set up by the Holy Spirit? Of course not. Jesus was showing us the way to resist temptation through prayer and fasting. Fasting and prayer strengthen our will and give us freedom of heart.
Fasting is not just a game about who can refrain from chocolate the longest. It is not just a test to see how long we can “white-knuckle” something by using only our will. Fasting is an emptying of ourselves so that Jesus can fill us. Fasting also is a discipline of our passions.
Jesus was completely free, totally connected to the Father and the Holy Spirit. He never did anything that He didn’t want to do. He came to set the captives (you and me) free from our sin and woundedness.
Jesus faced three temptations. These are common temptations that we face:
1) Physical Satisfaction – Jesus fasted and prayed for forty days. He was hungry! The devil tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread and eat to satisfy His hunger. Jesus resisted. “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” Jesus is the Word of God. He is the Bread of Life. He didn’t need the bread the devil offered. Jesus invites us to feed on Him this Lent and beyond. May we seek Him in the Word of God and in the Eucharist.
2) Fame and Admiration – The devil tempted Jesus by asking Him to put God to the test by throwing Himself from the parapet of the temple and asking God to save Him. Jesus never tested the Father. In fact, Jesus humbled Himself and took the form of a slave. He willingly embraced the cross and was humiliated by the people He created. May we humbly embrace the crosses God gives us and not seek the fame and admiration this world offers. Try praying the Litany of Humility this week.
3) Earthly Power – The devil tempted Jesus by asking for His worship, and he would give Jesus power over the entire earth. Ironically, Jesus already was the King of the Universe, but the devil wanted Jesus to hunger for earthly power. The devil knows how seductive is the desire for power. Have you ever tasted power and wanted more? May we seek the lowest place and look to elevate others.
During Lent, our spiritual spring training, let us pray for the gift to be truly free, which can only come by our obedience to the Father. We first need to listen to the Father through the Scriptures and prayer. Obedience comes from the Latin word “to listen”. If we make choices based on what the Father wants for us, we can never go wrong. Obedience leads to a freedom that this world cannot offer. Selfish choices or ungodly self-reliance will lead to slavery to sin and the feeling of being bound. Lord, help me to be free.
Book of the month – “Restore: A Guided Lent Journal for Prayer and Meditation”
by Sr. Miriam James Heidland, SOLT
Fr. Burke’s Blog – www.frburke23.wordpress.com
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