Saturday after Ash Wednesday, 2023

    February 25, 2023

    In his message for Lent, Lenten Penance and the Synodal Journey, Pope Francis calls us to “journey together” (synod). He links this journey to the Transfiguration:

    “Like the ascent of Jesus and the disciples to Mount Tabor, we can say that our Lenten journey is “synodal,” since we make it together along the same path, as disciples of the one Master. For we know that Jesus is himself the Way…”

    The Holy Father further instructs:

    “The Lenten journey of penance and the journey of the Synod alike have as their goal a transfiguration, both personal and ecclesial…(with) two “paths” to follow in order to ascend the mountain together with Jesus and, with him, to attain the goal.”

    These two paths are given by command of God the Father at the Transfiguration, “Listen to Him,” and Jesus’ words to the three disciples present, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”

    We ascend the first path by listening to Jesus in God’s Word, hearing the voices of our brothers and sisters in the Church, and encountering Jesus “in the faces and stories of those in need.” We “rise” on the second path and see “The light that Jesus shows the disciples is an anticipation of Easter glory, and that must be the goal of our own journey, as we follow “him alone.” Lent leads to Easter…”

    In our ministries, we strive to “listen to him” by removing oppression, false accusation, and malicious speech from our midst, and by bestowing bread on the hungry and satisfying the afflicted (Isaiah 58: 9b-11). We “listen to him” opening our hearts and minds in asking the Lord, “Teach me your way…that I may walk in truth” (Responsorial Psalm). And, we do so humbly, turning to Jesus, the Divine Physician, knowing that he has “not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners” (Luke 5:32). All “in anticipation of Easter glory…the goal of our own journey.”

    Fr. Dennis M. Weber, SdC is a priest of the Servants of Charity and Director of Ministry & Mission for the Developmental Programs Division of Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

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