Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”
And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’” Luke 13: 1 – 9
Watching my grandpa plant our garden – the amount of tenderness and care he gave to each plant, how he would gently water, prune, and nourish the soil – was one of my fondest memories growing up. It was the plants that needed the most work that always caught my grandpa’s attention, and the amount of extra time he would spend in caring for them to bear fruit was noticeable. One afternoon, I remember our neighbor asked my grandpa why focus so much on the plants that are struggling. Why not discard them and concentrate on the plants that provided you with rich fruit? My grandpa, a man of great faith, replied to our neighbor, “Does the ‘Good Father’ give up on you?”
Just like the gardener, God always remains the “Good Father.” The parable of the fig tree, a story of misfortune and compassion, is also a gentle reminder we need as we enter the third week of Lent to accept His mercy. God is the ever-patient gardener who gives every “fig tree” all the time, care and attention it needs to harvest.
The season of Lent is the perfect time to enter more fully into the silence, through personal prayer, to examine our lives and to confide in our “Good Father” who loves us unconditionally. Maybe this is the year we celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, embracing the love and the healing graces our Lord offers us. Lent is a perfect time of repentance, asking our merciful God to enter more fully into our lives, giving us hope and a “second chance” to rise from the ashes of sin to rebuild and reform our lives. God understands the sadness and tragedy that can cut down our lives in disappointment and despair. He continues to plant in our midst opportunities to start over, to try again, to rework things, to move beyond our hurt and pain to make things right.
-Reflection by Terri Balash, Director of Pastoral Care
What is our merciful God asking of you?
Where in your life do you need a gentle gardener to prune back the layers of sadness or disappointment?
Or maybe the gentle gardener is encouraging you to celebrate the rich fruit in your life? How might God be offering you forgiveness and healing?
The Corporal Works of Mercy – Almsgiving 2016
According to the US bishops, “The Corporal Works of Mercy are found in the teachings of Jesus and give us a model for how we should treat all others, as if they were Christ in disguise. They ‘are charitable actions by which we help our neighbors in their bodily needs’ (US Catholic Catechism for Adults). They respond to the basic needs of humanity as we journey together through this life.” People throughout our city and around the world go without food, shelter, proper clothing and clean water every day. Some deal with illness all alone, some are incarcerated and have no connection with humanity, and some die and no one notices. In Matthew 25, Jesus tells us that whatever we do (or don’t do) to the least among us, we do to Him.
In this Extraordinary Year of Mercy, please open your hearts and discern how God is calling you to serve those most in need. To support you in your Lenten journey of mercy, we have provided a list of organizations that are putting into practice Christ’s call. Please choose one (or another one close to your heart) and support it with your prayer, time and almsgiving. At the end of Lent, please make a check out to that organization and place it in the collection basket at mass, and we will pass it on to the organization for you.
|Corporal Works of Mercy||Organization||Website|
|Visit the Sick||Milwaukee Catholic Home||http://www.milwaukeecatholichome.org|
|Welcome the Stranger||Voces de la Frontera||http://vdlf.org|
|Give Drink to the Thirsty||Urban Ecology Center||http://urbanecologycenter.org|
|Visit the Imprisoned||Dismas Ministry||http://www.dismasministry.org|
|Feed the Hungry||Riverwest Food Pantry||http://riverwestfoodpantry.org|
|Bury the Dead||Nazareth Project – Bereavement Ministry||http://www.johnpaul2center.org/Nazareth-Project/Bereavement-Ministry.htm|
|Clothe the Naked||House of Peace||http://www.capuchincommunityservices.org|
Or visit our Mercy Calls Your Name – Lent 2016 page for organizations practicing the Spiritual Works of Mercy
Three Holy Women Parish – St. Rita Church – Scalabrini Hall
(corner of Cass St. and Pleasant St.)
Saturday February 27th – 11am-1pm
Sunday February 28th – 11:30am-2:30pm
Monday February 29th – 11am-1pm and 5:30pm-7:30pm
Tuesday March 1st – 11am-1pm and 5:30pm-7:30pm
Catholic East Fish Fry
Lenten Fridays February 19 – March 18, 4pm-7pm
SS Peter & Paul Campus Cafeteria – 2480 N. Cramer St.
Adults $10; Seniors/Takeout $9; Kids $6
Stations of the Cross
- Old St. Mary before 12:05pm Mass (11:45am)
- Three Holy Women-St. Hedwig after 5:30pm Mass (6:00pm)
- Three Holy Women-St. Hedwig after 8:15am Mass (8:45am)
- Old St. Mary before 12:05pm Mass (11:45am)