It is the Fifth Sunday of Lent.
In the first reading taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, we look forward to a new exodus that God promised. The new exodus promises to be far more wonderful than the first. God promises to restore His people after they have suffered in exile.
The second reading from the Letter of St. Paul is a warning to the Philippians about false teachers; Judaizers who would try to hang on to the old ways while at the same time claiming to be Christians.
The Gospel from St. John is about the woman caught in adultery. The two of them were left on their own, the wretched woman and Mercy. But the Lord, having smitten them with the dart of injustice, does not even deign to watch them go but turns his gaze away from them and once more writes on the ground with his finger. But when the woman was left alone and they had all gone, he lifted up his eyes to the woman.
In his Lenten message, Pope Francis invites us to embody the paschal mystery more deeply and concretely in our personal, family and social lives, above all by fasting, prayer and almsgiving.
Fasting is learning to change our attitude towards others and all of creation, turning away from temptation to “devour” everything to satisfy our voracity and being ready to suffer for love, which can fill the emptiness of our hearts.
Prayer teaches us to abandon idolatry and the self-sufficiency of our ego, and to acknowledge our need of the Lord and his mercy.
Almsgiving leads us to escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us. And to rediscover the joy of God’s plan for each of us, which is to love him, our brothers and sisters, and the entire world. To find in this love our true happiness.
The custom of veiling the images during the last two weeks of Lent is from the old Liturgical Calendar in which the Passion was read on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, known as Passion Sunday, Palm Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week and Good Friday. The period was also called Passiontide. However, in the current liturgy, the Passion of Christ is read only on Palm Sunday and Good Friday.
In Germany, a large cloth is placed before the altar at the beginning of Lent and removed during the reading of the Passion on Holy Wednesday at the words “the veil of the temple was rent in two.”
We use veils to alert us of the special time that we are in as a reminder of the season of prayer, penance, fasting and alms giving.
Secondly, the veils focus our attention on the words being said at Mass. When we listen to the Passion narrative, our senses are allowed to focus on the striking words from the Gospel and truly enter into the scenes of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ.
Third, the Church uses veils as a sign of anticipation for Easter Sunday. It encourages us to raise our hearts and minds of Christ work of Redemption. The unveiling before the Easter Vigil is a great reminder of our own life on earth. We live in a “veiled” world, in exile from our true home. It is only through our own death that the veil is lifted and we are finally able to see the beauty of everything in our lives.
Fasting and Abstinence
All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence on Ash Wednesday, Fridays of Lent and Good Friday; all adults from 18th up to the beginning of their 60th year are bound by the law of fasting. Pastors and parents are to see to it that minors who are not bound by the laws are educated in an authentic sense of penance.
We abstain from eating meat in honor of the Passion of Jesus. Meat is considered to be the flesh and organs of mammals and fowl. Also forbidden are soups or gravies made from them. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted, as are animal derived products such as margarine and gelatin which do not have any meat taste.
Fasting is defined as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity.The fast is broken by eating between meals and by drinks which could be considered food (milk shakes, but not milk). Alcoholic beverages do not break the fast; however, they seem to be contrary to the spirit of doing penance.
The following are excused from abstinence and fasting: those of unsound mind, the sick, the frail, pregnant or nursing women according to need for meat or nourishment, manual laborers according to need, guests at a meal who cannot excuse themselves without giving great offense or causing enmity and other situations of moral or physical impossibility to observe the penitential discipline.
Pilgrimage of Mercy (September 2-12, 2019)
Pilgrimages are becoming more popular, these days for many purposes. In addition to gain indulgences by visiting and praying to holy shrines, the pilgrim is able to make discoveries along the way, about his or her self, the human spirit and the culture of the land to be explored. Meeting people of diverse backgrounds, sharing experiences, camaraderie and interactions will provide a better understanding of our parish community. The Pilgrimage of Mercy is meant to bring parishioners together as we discover the history of our patron saint Casimir, the faith, culture and traditions of the Lithuanian people. Through this, we put our prayers into action. There is more to learn and appreciate from their homeland than by merely saying hello at the parking lot. Lithuania is the secret gem of the Baltic seas and many beautiful things are being said in the social media. Deadline for submission of registration has been extended to April 15.
The Original Image of the Divine Mercy (Special Director’s cut movie presentation on April 13, 2019)
The original image was abandoned, stolen, smuggled, rolled up in storage and forgotten. A team of filmmakers traveled to Europe to track the timeline of Saint Faustina’s masterpiece and its whereabouts over the past 80 years. Director Daniel DiSilva, will give a talk and hold a Q&A during the event, accompanied with gallery of Divine Mercy artifacts. Tickets are available at the door. for details call 323-664-4660.
Let us continue offering special prayers for unity, understanding and cooperation in our parish community. God brought us all together here at St. Casimir’s in His great love and mercy to be one universal Church. Let us pray for our pastor that he may always have the graces and wisdom to lead us to Christ.
Pope Francis Message on His Apostolic Journey to the Baltic Seas
During his apostolic visit last September, Pope Francis acknowledged the experiences of Lithuanians that still bear the scars of the occupation period, anguish of those who were deported, uncertainty about those who never returned, and shame for those who were informers and traitors. He called for healing the memories of the past and take active part in the tasks of the present. He reminded everyone what it means to be a Church on the move, unafraid to go out and get involved, to go forth to the weak, neglected, those dwelling at the margins of life. To go forth also means to halt at times, to set aside worries and cares, to notice, to listen and to accompany those left on the roadside.
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