By Junno Arocho Esteves | Catholic News Service | twitter:@arochoju
VATICAN CITY — Like the people of Israel freed from the bondage of slavery, Christians are called to experience the path toward hope and new life in the Lenten season, Pope Francis said.
Through His passion, death and resurrection, Jesus "has opened up for us a way that leads to a full, eternal and blessed life," the pope said at his weekly general audience March 1, Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent for Latin-rite Catholics.
"Lent lives within this dynamic: Christ precedes us with His exodus and we cross the desert, thanks to Him and behind Him," he said.
The readings for the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time suggest there is no limit to our participation in Godliness. The first reading states: "Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy." That's our open invitation to allow God to possess us with His holiness. He doesn't limit our participation in His goodness.
The Gospel readings for Catholic Schools Week help us reflect on the mighty deeds of Jesus. He cures the Gerasene demoniac; He heals the woman who touched the tassel of His cloak; He raises the daughter of Jairus from the dead. And the apostles report that they have accomplished everything in His name.
The Church is the mystical body of Christ, and Catholic education is one of the mighty deeds of Jesus in our day. Through Catholic schools — in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and across the country — Jesus brings His teaching mission to our time and place.
In the early 1960s, successful yet dissatisfied Spanish artist Kiko Arguello sought greater spirituality. Arguello wondered about the spiritual meaning to life, or even if God existed at all. For answers, he moved into a shantytown with only a guitar and a Bible. There, he encountered violence and addiction as well as the deeper issues of interior wounds and despair.
VATICAN CITY — The birth of Christ is a reminder for Christians to take a moment and reflect on the hope of salvation given by God to the world, Pope Francis said.
Those who are humble and poor like the shepherds come to realize the promise of hope that comes from trusting God and not from "their own securities, especially material goods," the pope said Dec. 21 at his weekly general audience.
In our busy and frantic culture, it's easy to be distracted and lose focus. We live surrounded by external and internal distractions competing for our limited attention. Whether due to the constant noise of people talking, phone ringing, TV chatter or the inner disruptions caused by stress, worries and mental obsessions, it's hard to stay centered and single-minded. And for many, access to social media has only made things worse — we now jump from one thing to the next with ease and speed.