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Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

Repent and Believe in the Gospel

1st Sunday of Lent

“Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.”Ps. 25

This is the call that God makes to us at the beginning of this TIME OF GRACE. Conversion is a change of mind and heart that only He makes possible, for this is why He came, to give us the freedom of Children of God, liberation from the bonds of sin that are deadly to the soul. What is and is not sin? Something does not become sin just because the Church or the priests say so. The term sin comes from the Greek, hamartia, which means to miss the mark; like getting off track or deviating from the right path.

The Holy Spirit and Jesus through his Church guide us in distinguishing what we should and should not do, what pleases and offends God. Sin, therefore, is rebellion and disobedience to God that separates us from Him; God loves us and does not want what harms us in any way, distancing us from the truth and from the ideal of holiness to which we are called.

To know if something is or is not sin, consider: Does it bring me closer to or farther from God? Does it please or displease Him? Obviously, some sins are more serious, mortal, both because they are a serious matter and because they go against an explicit will of God in His Word. Others are not open disobedience. They should never be confused with simple human errors or mistakes, even if they make us feel bad. For it to be a sin, it is always a way of disregarding the voice and the will of God, displeasing Him by not doing what He asks of us.

There is a great diversity of sins of thoughts, words, deeds, and omissions, our conscience tells us: “you failed”, we have a moral conscience that we must form in the light of the Word in order to grow in holiness and make a true judgment about what is good and what is bad.

Sin is actions that, in themselves, manifest as evil and harmful, as they go against the will of God; God does not want us to harm ourselves or others, and He wants to lead us to a free and full life, like good parents who want the best for their children. Sin is not having temptations or evil desires, for that is natural, sin is falling into them or being carried away by them.

Sin, whatever it may be, has harmful consequences and therefore God does not want it and we must seek to free ourselves from it. It is directly related to the truth; it does not depend on the opinion or subjective feeling of each one. If it is a sin, it will not be good for you, even if sometimes you do not understand why; if God does not want it for you, surely it is not convenient for you, and you would be happier in what God wants for you. Just as a child does not understand why they must undergo surgeries or treatments, nor do they want them, but the mother knows that they will understand and appreciate it later.

We cannot free ourselves from sin by ourselves, which is why God came in Christ and gives us His Holy Spirit, to give us wisdom and strength, love and self-control. Only with His grace can we overcome temptation as Jesus did in the desert, enlightened by the Word of God and strengthened by prayer. Watch and pray so as not to fall into temptation because the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. There is much we can do that brings us happiness within the will of God. Jesus came to save man, not to condemn him; He shows us the path of light and truth that leads to the Father and invites us to move away from darkness.

Weekly Readings

Sunday: Gn 9:8-15/Ps 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9 (see 10)/1 Pt 3:18-22/Mk 1:12-15
Monday: Lv 19:1-2, 11-18/Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 15/Mt 25:31-46
Tuesday: Is 55:10-11/Ps 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19/Mt 6:7-15
Wednesday: Jon 3:1-10/Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19/Lk 11:29-32
Thursday: 1 Pt 5:1-4/Ps 23:1-3a, 4, 5, 6/Mt 16:13-19
Friday: Ez 18:21-28/Ps 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-7a, 7bc-8/Mt 5:20-26
Saturday: Dt 26:16-19/Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8/Mt 5:43-48
Next Sunday: Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18/Ps 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19 (116:9)/Rom 8:31b-34/Mk 9:2-10

Observances for the Week

Sunday: 1st Sunday of Lent
Monday: Presidents’ Day
Wednesday: St. Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Thursday: The Chair of St. Peter the Apostle
Friday: St. Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr
Next Sunday: 2nd Sunday of Lent