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Dr Nigel Joel Gonsalves, will be available at our Medical Centre for Physiotherapy on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5.30 to 7 p.m. ______________________

Musicians and Guitarists are requested to help with the Cantors. Those willing, kindly give your names at the Parish Office. Thanks in advance for your generosity. _________________________________

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Lenten Calendar 2013 : Click here to view

Lenten Programme 2013: Click here to view

LENT is a period of repentance. It is a forty day period of fast and abstinence before Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday (this year on 13th February) and ends on Holy Saturday (this year on 30th March). Sundays are not counted as part of the forty days, since on Sundays we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord. The forty day period is symbolic of the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert before embarking on his Mission to heal our broken world. Lent is thus a call to each one of us who profess to be disciples of Jesus to continue that Mission of Jesus and reach out to our still fragmented and broken world by first Loving Each Neighbour Truly.

By choosing the story of the temptation of Jesus as the Gospel for the First Sunday in Lent, the Church gives us an orientation to how each of us must approach Lent and life itself. The three temptations of Jesus have been seen as corresponding to the temptations of Israel. The temptations involved bread, testing the Lord, and idolatry. To be sure, the story of the temptations does not give us readymade answers to all the allurements and enticements we face everyday but, they do point us to the response of Jesus, which at all times remained a response in which God’s will, rather than his own, took primacy.

The Transfiguration of Jesus which is the Gospel text for the Second Sunday in Lent is an event which encapsulates the whole Christ event. It is here that we see his entire life; ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension unfold. It is a summary of what was, what is, and what will be. Thus, the Transfiguration emphasizes that God has been revealed through Jesus and that the essence of Jesus’ identity and work cannot be understood apart from the cross and resurrection. Only in the light of the cross and resurrection do we understand the character of God and the significance of Jesus.

The repentance that Jesus calls the people to in the Gospel text for the Third Sunday in Lent is a change of mind, heart, and vision. It is a practical rather than speculative response to God and to life. It is an attitude that realises that we will never have the answers to all the questions that we can ask. We will never be able to answer convincingly why some children are deformed while others are normal. We will never be able to answer credibly why one person is stricken with the dreaded disease of cancer while another is healthy. We will never be able to answer plausibly why one mother should deliver a still born baby and another, a baby full of life. We will never be able to answer believably why a young person dies in an accident because of the negligence of someone else and why another, in the same vehicle, survives. In the face of conundrums like these, there is but one response.  That response is to accept what happens as God’s will and plan for us. This does not mean that we develop a fatalistic attitude. This does not mean that we must do nothing but accept our fate. It does not mean that we must throw our hands up in despair because there is no use at all.  Rather, it means a response of faith and trust in a God who will always do what is best for us.

The readings on the Fourth Sunday in Lent throw up a dual challenge. The first is to believe, and know, that God forgives unconditionally no matter how grave our sin might be. It is to accept totally the immeasurable depth of God’s boundless love.  It is to realize, in the depths of our hearts, that God is always willing to take us back. The second challenge that follows from the first, and is related to it, is our acceptance and forgiveness of others as God forgives us. This is the challenge that Paul issues to the Corinthians in the second reading of today when he invites them to be ambassadors for Christ. This is because anyone who claims to be a disciple and follower of Christ has become a new creation and has been reconciled to God. Reconciliation of the world to God was the sole purpose of God’s sending Christ into the world. Thus, if God does not count our trespasses against us, how can we even think to count the trespasses of others against them?

On the Fifth and Final Sunday in Lent, the readings offer consolation to everyone, no matter to which category we may belong. If we are like the scribes and Pharisees in the Gospel story of today, quick to condemn others and point fingers at them, the readings are saying to us that God will not condemn us or point a finger at us. We have been forgiven for this sin and forgiven unconditionally.   If we identify with the woman in the Gospel story, then to us, too, the message is that our sin has been erased and that we have been forgiven, unconditionally.  However, no matter with whom we identify, the next step after having experienced the forgiveness of God in Jesus is, like Paul, to forget what lies in the past and to press on to what lies ahead. And, what lies ahead is only unconditional forgiveness, mercy, and love.  Will we press on?

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