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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Lenten reflection, day 9

Lent is the season we Christians focus on the mystery and power of reconciliation unleashed upon creation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Since it is also the season of final preparation for those soon to be baptized or to profess faith in our Tradition, Lent sharply highlights that to follow the Christ is to follow the path of “holy communion.”

So great is God’s hunger for all to live together in this holy communion that He is willing to enter into the very bowels of all the evil that divides us from ourselves, from one another, and yes, from all creatures and creation.

In the face of viciousness, terror, and cruelty, Jesus clung to God’s will with His whole being and cried out, “Father, forgive them!”

Today’s Scriptures from both the prophet Ezekiel and St. Matthew are about reconciliation: reconciliation with ourselves; with one another, within our families, friends, and communities; and with “enemy” nations and groups.

Praying for both world peace and for forgiveness in our own hearts is essential Lenten practice. The central sacramental ritual that defines our lives, the Eucharist, rests upon our dying to our sins of unforgiveness, rests upon our holy communion with ourselves, one another, and all creation. Let us allow it to transfigure us into women and men of God’s justice and peace!

Father Francis Gargani, C.Ss.R.
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Scripture readings for today: Ezekiel 18:21-28; Psalm 130; Matthew 5:20-26