I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | God passionately wants to reveal His saving mercy

The readings for the Third Sunday in Lent clarify that our mysterious God calls us into an intimate relationship with Him, and He will speak to us through angels, persons and everyday life events.

In the first reading, God speaks through an angel, a flaming bush and His own voice, calling Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, into the desert and into still another pagan land.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Lenten checkpoint: kick-start your journey

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

So, how's your Lent coming?

If it needs a kickstart, here are two ideas.

First: It isn't too late to start. One of the enemy's tactics is to tell us that if we didn't start on time, or start well, it's too late. But does that reasoning draw you closer to the Lord, or keep you off the path of discipleship? It's a false reasoning. Its root is known by its fruit: It discourages us from drawing closer to the Lord.

Lenten resolution: Commit to live in ways pleasing to God

Resolve to live more consistently in ways pleasing to God this Lent.

That simple advice comes from Father Philip Sosa, provincial superior of the North American Province of the Missionaries of the Holy Family, based in St. Louis at St. Wenceslaus Parish.

"As we begin our Lenten Journey, let us commit to doing more than wearing ashes on our foreheads. Let us resolve to live more consistently in ways pleasing to God, and may He give you whatever you need to testify to His love," Father Sosa wrote before the beginning of Lent.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Giving to the poor is part of jubilee year

Pope Francis, right, and Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston celebrated Mass with Capuchin friars Feb. 9 in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

VATICAN CITY — A jubilee year that does not open people's wallets to share what they have with others is not a true jubilee, Pope Francis said.

At his weekly general audience Feb. 10 in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis spoke about the description of a jubilee year in the Book of Leviticus. The religious feast also had serious social implications, he said, because it proclaimed a forgiveness of debts, the freedom of indentured servants and special generosity toward the poor and the stranger.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Saying ‘no’ to something leads to a stronger ‘yes’

Bishop Edward M. Rice celebrated Ash Wednesday Mass at Rosati-Kain High School, reminding students: “Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return.” Before Mass, Emma Potts had a conversation with Bishop Rice while the two students assisting him as vimps, Mary Rackers and Kelsey Rohman, stood behind. The “vimpa” (white shawl) is used to hold the mitre or crosier, thus preventing direct contact with the “pontificalia” by anyone other than the bishop.

In the Gospel for Ash Wednesday (Feb. 10), Jesus criticizes those who perform righteous deeds — like fasting — so that others may see them. Some people, misunderstanding that Gospel, think we should skip the fasting and the ashes of Lent. But notice: Jesus isn't criticizing people for fasting. He's criticizing how and why they do it. The solution isn't to abandon the external observances. After all, Jesus follows up by telling them to do the external observances. The proper response is to observe the letter and the spirit of the law.

Editorial | Seek to mimic God’s love in Lent

When ashes are placed on our foreheads in the sign of the cross, it's a reminder of several things.

It's a call to repentance: a physical sign that we're sinners in need of forgiveness, which is how the prophets used it in the Old Testament. It also reminds us that God created us from the earth and when we die, we will return to it.

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