English EspaƱol Mary Immaculate
Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

Seeking Holiness

Second Sunday of Lent

“Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.”Ps. 33

Without running with determination towards holiness, we could say that those who go to Mass are deceiving themselves, for it would have no meaning or reason for being if we are not in a daily effort to live as faithful disciples of Christ, seeking to please Him and not ourselves or the world. The Mass only has reason to be and profit if it is framed in a life of faith and is part of the effort to grow in Christian living or holiness.

Many who never come to Mass come on Ash Wednesday, wanting nothing more than ashes. If it were up to them, they would prefer that there was not even the brief liturgy of the word, they are content to receive the mark on the forehead. I do not know what answer they would give us if we asked them why they want to receive the ashes; perhaps they would vary from one to another, but in general, it is a very small vestige of religiosity that has remained in the midst of the paganism in which they live immersed daily.

Will it be something superstitious? Will they believe that this pleases God? Or rather they just want to please themselves and fulfill that desire that even they themselves don’t know why they have it? Will they believe in God? Perhaps many would answer yes, but do they give him any place in their life? Do Will that vague faith be enough as a mere subjective opinion without any support, like the superficial belief of whether or not there are extraterrestrials? Many do not go beyond there, a belief that does not affect them in their lives. They live quietly without God or religion, settling for feeling good, or at least, not as bad as others, because they do not kill or steal, and even believing themselves religious enough because they do the sign of the cross when they go to bed or when they get up or to go on Ash Wednesdays.

Could it be that many of those who go to Mass on Sundays are on that same level? We could say that many live like pagans, even if they feel very religious for going to Mass on Sunday, without freeing them at all from their selfish disorder, sin or worldly judgment in their daily decisions.

If the Christian is not running the Christian race and dominating himself, he cannot be said to be a Christian, even if he comes on Ash Wednesdays or every Sunday. Christianity is a new life in Christ, not religious practices. The essential thing is life, practices are means to have that life, but without that life, those means would not make sense.

“And everyone who competes in games abstains from everything. They do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we, an incorruptible one. Therefore, I run in this way, not as if I have no goal; in this way I fight, not as if beat the air, but I beat my body and make it my slave, lest, having preached to others, I myself be disqualified.”1 Corinthians 9:25ff

Readings for the Week

Monday: Dn 9:4b-10; Ps 79:8, 9, 11, 13; Lk 6:36-38
Tuesday: Is 1:10, 16-20; Ps 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21, 23; Mt 23:1-12
Wednesday: Jer 18:18-20; Ps 31:5-6, 14-16; Mt 20:17-28
Thursday: Jer 17:5-10; Ps 1:1-4, 6; Lk 16:19-31
Friday: Gn 37:3-4, 12-13a; 17b-28a; Ps 105:16-21; Mt 21:33-43, 45-46
Saturday: Mi 7:14-15, 18-20; Ps 103:1-4, 9-12; Lk 15:1-3, 11-32
Sunday: Ex 17:3-7; Ps 95:1-2, 6-9; Rom 5:1-2, 5-8; Jn 4:5-42 [5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42]

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