Lent 1 - February 18, 2024 - and letter from Fr. George

As we begin this Lenten season we encounter ashes and rainbows.  That’s a strange combination.  Ashes are dirty, messy, and ugly.  Rainbows, on the other hand, are beautiful and inspiring.  On Wednesday, ashes were smudged on our foreheads as a sign of our mortality and sinfulness.  Today we hear that God set a rainbow in the sky as a sign of the covenant with us.  As we begin these forty days of Lent let us recognize both truths:  we are always in need of repentance, but God stands ever waiting to forgive us.  The ashes remind us to repent of our sins, as rainbows remind us of God’s eternal forgiveness.

The first Sunday of Lent is always the gospel of Jesus going into the desert for forty days to be tested.  Mark’s Gospel tells us preciously little about our Lord’s time in the wilderness, no details of Satan’s temptations, as we hear from Matthew and Luke.  But he mentions that Jesus was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.  We, too, may find ourselves beset by wild beasts within and without as we try to resist temptations.  Let us look to the angels in our lives who care for us, who offer their occasional assistance when we need it, or their constant support throughout our trials.  Better yet, make ourselves angels who minister to others when they undergo difficulties or trauma and feel deserted and in need.

Love, Peace, Joy,

Fr. Bob


Dear friends,

I suspect you have all heard of my serious fall in mid-January.  Of course, at my age there is no such thing as a “good” fall.  During a twelve-hour power outage at my apartment building, I fell and could  not get up.  I laid on the floor for nearly ten hours.  I might be there still, but Fr. Bob, PRINCE that he is, found me and called the fire department to get me some assistance.  Although I did not feel terribly hurt, my    condition did not seem to improve and so I was admitted to the hospital for nearly a week.  They found I had two broken ribs, a badly infected left foot, a very low saline level, and a high potassium level that together were contributing to kidney failure.  The day after I arrived, another  patient asked me why I came to the hospital.  I responded simply, “TO DIE!”  But it is amazing what specialized care will do, and I am  home again.  I have two weeks to heal and to learn how to use a walker (with no driving), and three additional weeks to regain my strength. My medical team says that if I do absolutely everything they say, I will be able to return to St. James and join you all for the feast of the  Resurrection.  I certainly hope so!

Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers and for your cards and greetings.  They mean a great deal to me.  Warmest regards, and may God bless you all!

Fr. George


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