Eng Esp Mary Immaculate
Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

Lent: A Time for Conversion

First Sunday of Lent

Last Wednesday we began one of the most significant seasons in the liturgical calendar: Lent. In his Lenten message for this year, Pope Francis states that Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death. This season urgently calls us to conversion. Christians are asked to return to God “with all their hearts” (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us. Even when we sin, he patiently awaits our return; by that patient expectation, he shows us his readiness to forgive.

Lent is also a favorable season for deepening our spiritual life through the means of sanctification offered us by the Church: fasting, prayer and almsgiving. At the basis of everything is the word of God, which during this season we are invited to hear and ponder more deeply. The Holy Father also said that Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments and in our neighbor. The Lord, who overcame the deceptions of the Tempter during the forty days in the desert, shows us the path we must take. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need. I really hope and pray that this holy season may bear fruit in our hearts and be an opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to experience his love and his mercy in a very special way. May you and your loved ones have a blessed Lent.

Readings for the Week

Monday: Lv 19:1-2, 11-18; Ps 19:8-10, 15; Mt 25:31-46
Tuesday: Is 55:10-11; Ps 34:4-7, 16-19; Mt 6:7-15
Wednesday: Jon 3:1-10; Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19; Lk 11:29-32
Thursday: Est C:12, 14-16, 23-25; Ps 138:1-3, 7c-8; Mt 7:7-12
Friday: Ez 18:21-28; Ps 130:1-8; Mt 5:20-26
Saturday: Dt 26:16-19; Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8; Mt 5:43-48
Sunday: Gn 12:1-4a; Ps 33:4-5, 18-20, 22; 2 Tm 1:8b-10; Mt 17:1-9

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: First Sunday of Lent
Tuesday: Ss. Perpetua and Felicity
Wednesday: St. John of God
Thursday: St. Frances of Rome
Friday: Abstinence
Saturday: Purim (Jewish festival of the story of Esther) begins at sunset

Strength Against Temptation

The first Sunday of the season of Lent always includes a Gospel account of the temptation of the Lord Jesus in the desert by the devil. This year, the story is set against the backdrop of the first reading from Genesis, which recounts the very first temptation by the devil. That story is set in a garden of delight. The Gospel story is set in the desert. As believers, we know that temptation comes our way in our own gardens of delight as well as the deserts of our lives. As Lent begins, our attention is drawn to that temptation within each of us to become like God—we want control, power, and answers to all of life’s difficult questions. As communities of faith, we are given this season of repentance so that we can join our hearts with others on the difficult journey of conversion. We look to God and to one another for strength against temptation.