Today, I would like to share with you a few words of reflection on the readings we heard last Sunday, the First Sunday of Lent. In the First Reading, from Deuteronomy, “we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and he heard our cry and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression” (Deut 26:7). We then see that the Lord brought them out of that affliction, toil, oppression, and slavery, “with his strong hand and outstretched arm, with terrifying power, with signs and wonders,” from the slavery of Egypt into the freedom of the Promised Land (Deut 26:8).
The expression “I cried,” is so powerful because it is much more than simply saying a prayer or asking the Lord. No, these words come from the heart. These words remind us that in our dire need, we appealed from the depths of our souls for the Lord to come to our assistance and to make haste to help us. The Lord heard our pleas and answered us. What a beautiful promise to us—in the midst of our difficulties, trials, and challenges, for us who have faith, we will always have God to turn to.
Next, we had those beautiful words in the Letter from St. Paul to the Romans, “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart—that is, the word of faith that we preach…For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom 10:8-13). Again, a beautiful affirmation and consolation for us that our faith leads us on this path of salvation, where His word will be guiding us. The Word of God instructs, leads, and encourages us not only on our Lenten journey but throughout our lives as we seek to grow in faith.
Photo: First Sunday of Lent, Rite of Election, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River
2022 Lenten Message
Only one week ago, we began the season of Lent. As I mention in my Lenten Message, this is a time to embark on a spiritual journey of reflection, repentance, and renewal. Let us remember that the Lord calls and invites us to a life of repentance and conversion during this special time.
As we seek ways to practice prayer, fasting, and charity this Lent, let us not forget to consider doing so with our parish community — gathering for Mass, prayer services, missions, the sacraments, and working together to serve the poor and needy within the community. I’ve been so encouraged this Lent to see steps toward building vibrant parish communities with many opportunities to come together to serve, learn, and pray.
For the entire Lenten 2022 Message please Click Here
Diocesan Lenten Missions and Events
This Lenten Season, I invite you to dive deeper into your faith with a variety of wonderful opportunities across the Diocese of Fall River. I’ve shared a few below, more information about these, and additional Lenten Resources can be found on the Diocese website—HERE.
Prayer and Humanitarian Assistance for Ukraine
Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, in a recent statement, urged continued prayer and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine and surrounding countries.
“In view of the developing humanitarian crisis, I urge the U.S. government to provide all possible assistance to the people of Ukraine and to work closely with faith-based partners who are already on the ground providing emergency aid. I encourage everyone to give generously to organizations such as Catholic Relief Services and USCCB’s Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe that are bringing tangible relief and the hope of Christ to those in need. Those suffering in Ukraine and in the surrounding region will remain close in our hearts through this conflict. During this penitential season of Lent, with Our Lady of Fatima as our guide, let us not grow weary in praying for peace, justice, and the salvation of the whole world.”
Please consider offering what you can for support to either of these organizations, as well as joining with me in prayer for all those affected and suffering during this time of crisis in Ukraine.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha