Don't Waste This Crisis

(Homily for Ash Wednesday)

Bottom line: Don't waste this crisis: It is a call from God to get priorities straight.

Welcome to Lent. On Ash Wednesday we hear a call to reorder our priorities. Isaiah tells us, "Rend your hearts...and return to the Lord." St. Paul speaks as an ambassador for Christ, "Be reconciled to God...Now is the day of salvation." And Jesus gives us some practical means to get our priorities straight.

Before explaining those steps, I want to say something about the moment we are living - and why it is so important to get priorities correct, now. We are like a man waking from a binge. Most of us feel a strange headache, a sense of disorientation, on account of the economic meltdown. I am not going to propose any remedy, but I can say this: If you and I get our relationship with God in order, the other things will fall into their right place.

Whatever economic problems we have, whatever family problems, whatever parish problems - they are ultimately spiritual problems. If we give God first place, the rest will follow. Jesus speaks today about fasting, prayer and giving alms: Why? Not so other people will admire us, but to get right with God.

This Ash Wednesday I invite you to make a commitment of time - to God. I've got something that will help. In the pews today you will find a card titled "Stewardship of Time." I ask each adult and young person to take a card. Fill out your name, address, phone and email. Then look at the list headed, "My Spiritual Life." Some of the items to check are very basic: Attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day, personal daily prayer, prayer at meals and prayer together with family. This is Catholicism 101 and I hope everyone will check those boxes. And if you do just those three things - Sunday Mass, daily personal prayer and family prayer, especially at meals - it will change your life. Beyond those basics we have other suggestions: Pray the rosary, make a novena (nine days) of prayer, attend an adult education class or make retreat. On the coming Sundays of Lent, I have lined up witness speakers to address three areas: The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), a program to read the Bible and Catechism in one year and how to make a weekly Holy Hour before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

I want to say it again: If you make a commitment of time to the Lord, if you give him first priority in your life, everything else will fall in place. For that reason, the card also contains some areas of commitment to your family and to your neighborhood and community. Start with God and you will be amazed the difference it will make in your family and ultimately in your community.

Don't waste this crisis. God sent it to us for a reason. It is the moment to get our priorities straight. Perhaps in addition to the financial crisis you are facing a difficult family problem or some serious health issue. Do not waste the crisis. It is a call from God. Now is the acceptable time. Now is the day of salvation. Now is the moment to reorder priorities - and to give first place to God. As a sign of our humility before God, we will now receive ashes on our forehead. Welcome to Lent.


Intercessions for Ash Wednesday

Spanish Version

From Archives (Ash Wednesday Homilies):

First Things
New Mind and Heart
Go to Your Inner Room
Return to Me
The Purpose of Lent
Two Cheers for Catholic Guilt
Don't Waste This Crisis
When You Give Alms
Back to the Basics
Dealing With Guilt
Exercise of Holy Desire

Homilies for First Sunday of Lent ("Temptation Sunday"):

2016: First Things: Prayer
2015: New Mind and Heart Week 1
2014: Prayer and Spiritual Combat Week 1
2013: Do Not Talk to the Devil
2012: The Convenant with Noah Today
2011: The Purpose of Temptation
2010: Who Is Like God?
2009: Knee Mail
2008: The Devil is a Logician
2007: More Powerful than Satan
2006: Sir, Go on the Other Side
2005: The Temptation of Sloth
2004: Temptation of Spirituality
2003: Lent with C.S. Lewis
2002: First Signs of Spring
2001: How Satan Operates
2000: The Rabbit's Foot
1999: Original Sin & Temptation
1998: Hidden Sin of Gluttony
1997: Jesus' Temptation & Ours

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Bulletin (Obama - "Day of Reckoning", Liturgy Workshop, Program to Read Bible in One Year)


Two-Bit Collections

my bulletin column

SMV Bulletin (be patient - sometimes we have problems uploading)

Parish Picture Album

Separated at birth?

40 Days for Life (Everett, WA)

From Fr. Frank Pavone:

The recent revelations about Planned Parenthoodís willingness to cover up sexual exploitation build on revelations uncovered many years ago. Life Dynamics called hundreds of Planned Parenthood facilities nationwide. The caller, posing as a minor made pregnant by statutory rape, was consistently taught how to lie so that the abortion clinic would not have to report the incident.

As I always say, you canít practice vice virtuously. Planned Parenthood carries out, justifies, defends, and even celebrates the horrifying dismemberment of children in the womb. After doing that, they are hardly going to have much of a conscience left in regard to any other kind of right and wrong. If one devalues the child in the womb, one will devalue the child outside the womb.

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