February 19, 2023

Dear Parish Family: 

In just a few days, we will set out on our annual pilgrimage to Easter. ASH WEDNESDAY (February 22) begins THE HOLY SEASON OF LENT that prepares us to enter into the life-changing mystery of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Lent comes from a Germanic word that means springtime. Spring is a time of new beginnings and new life, the season of preparing the soil and planting, the awaking of God’s creation that has gone dormant that now blooms with simple beauty and gentleness. 

Traditionally, spring is a time for SPRING CLEANING, that extra effort to sweep, dust, wash, and organize our homes. The origins of spring cleaning can be seen in the Jewish People as they prepared for Passover. This tradition continued in Christian Churches with extra efforts to make sure everything was bright and shining for Holy Week. Typically, spring cleaning is not complicated.  It just takes time and work. 

Lent gives the opportunity to spring clean our hearts and lives to make more room for God.  It doesn’t have to be complicated. It means basic things like prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. At Good Shepherd this year, we will focus on A SIMPLE LENT: MAKING MORE ROOM FOR GOD. When we think about it, Lent is not that complicated.  We use simple prayer, fasting and almsgiving. 

Prayer is simply conversation with God. Talking to Him. AND listening to Him. Fasting helps us keep thing simple. To cut back on what distracts us from God and helps us make more room for Him. Almsgiving is simple to. It helps us living simply by share with those in need so that they can simply live. Almsgiving is a response to God. It is a way to live out our gratitude for all that God has given us, reflecting that we are the Body of Christ and responsible for each other. Justice, mercy, and charity are integral elements of our baptism that call us to be disciples of Jesus.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta said: “We are called to do simple things with extraordinary love.” May our simple Lenten disciplines be done not merely out of obligation, but done with love.

Don’t forget Good Shepherd’s version of the fasnacht. Join us for FAT TUESDAY FUNNEL CAKES on Tuesday, February 21, 2023 in the parking lot from 12 Noon to 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for a little feast before the fast.  

I look forward to sharing this simple Lent with you as we make more room for God! 

Father Neil Sullivan