Open Your Hearts!
On this 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we find ourselves on the cusp of the
Lenten Season. Over the past few weeks, we have reflected on how to respond
to God’s call and meditate on His words. It is with great joy that we also received
the announcement from our Holy Father, Pope Francis, regarding the start of a
Year of Prayer in preparation for the Catholic Church’s 2025 Jubilee Year.
In his Angelus address, Pope Francis declared that this year would be
dedicated to rediscovering the great value and absolute need for prayer in our
personal lives, in the life of the Church, and the world. He encouraged us to
increase our prayer as we prepare for the opening of the Holy Door and the
beginning of the Jubilee. The Pope’s words remind us of the power of prayer and
the hope it brings to our lives.
In the first reading, a person with a sore on his skin is considered a threat to
the community, both medically and spiritually. He is deemed ritually unclean and
is required to be quarantined; there is a clear demarcation between the inside
and the outside of the camp. Likewise, in the Gospel there is a clear separation
between the town and the deserted places. These boundaries serve as a
reminder of the need to protect the community’s well-being.
Despite our best efforts, we only partially eliminate those who are considered
different, diseased, infirmed, or inconvenient, as evidenced in today’s Gospel,
when a leper shows up where he is not supposed to be. Kneeling before Jesus,
he humbly begs, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” This simple statement
uncovers our illness. The trouble lies not in our inability to cleanse others but in
our lack of desire to do so. We must confront our selfishness and apathy,
allowing the sight of those in need to move our hearts, just as the leper does.
As we approach Ash Wednesday, let us remember the words, “We are dust
and to dust we shall return.” This reminder of our mortality serves as a powerful
call to embark on a pilgrimage of the soul. Our journey will not last forever, and it
is in this context that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has dedicated this year as a
Year of Prayer – a spiritual journey that aligns with the Lenten season. It is a time
for us to relinquish our selfishness and the busyness of our lives. Let us give
more time to God and deepen our connection with Him during this Lenten
season by reading the Scriptures and meditating on His words.
Fr. Dominic Toan Tran, Pastor
To guide you in this spiritual journey, I have prepared a 40-day Bible reading
plan for this Lenten Season, which you can find in the bulletin or on our parish’s
Facebook page. Immersing ourselves in God’s Word is a practical step towards
opening our hearts and minds to His wisdom and guidance during this Lenten