Week of February 14, 2021

A Note From Fr. Tom

My dear friends in Christ, in just a few days we will enter into the holy season of Lent: forty days of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. I love how the Lord speaks about these three important things: “When you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do… when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites… and when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites…” (Matthew 6). In other words, don’t be a hypocrite! It’s a word that comes from the Greek word ὑποκριτής, which is an ancient word that means pretender, or “one who plays a part on the stage.” I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to hear from the Lord at the end of my life is, “Fr. Tom, you did a fine job pretending to be a good Christian.” The truth is that the Lord doesn’t want us to be mere actors of the Christian life… God wants us to be absolutely on fire with His love! Do we desire to be like St. Paul, who said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”? It’s not enough to act like people who love… Christ calls us to be people on fire with love. As we enter into these forty days of Lent in preparation for the great solemnity of Easter, let’s keep in mind that love is the safeguard against hypocrisy. When we are steeped in the love of Christ, acting and pretending is not even on our radar. So let’s take another look at prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, but let’s look at each of them through the lens of love. Here are some questions to consider: How is the Lord inviting me to enter deeper into His love through the silence of prayer? What is keeping me from the love of Christ, and how is the Lord inviting me to fast in a particular way this Lent? And how is He asking me to love and to give of myself more this Lent (time, talent, and treasure)? Wherever the Lord is leading you in these three areas, trust that “your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Also, feel free to jot your answers down on a piece of paper, and refer to them throughout the course of this holy season, even at the end of each day. It’ll be a constant reminder that we are not called to be pretenders… but intentional disciples of Jesus Christ. Peace,

Fr. Thomas Skaja