Desert Experience

March 17, 2019 | N W | Commitment, Father Salvador, Lent, Mission, Repentance, Saints, Self-Reflection, Trust

Second Sunday of Lent
March 17, 2019 – Year C
Readings: Gn 15:5-12, 17-18 / Ps 27 / Phil 3:17 – 4:1 / Lk 9:28B-36
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor

In my first few years in the priesthood, I had the privilege to minister to the residents of a remote, small, country town in the Pacific. It happened to be within my parish jurisdiction, so I had to be there quite often. People who have never been there consider it to be a God-forsaken place because there are no hospitals, no department stores, and yes, no electricity. But the folks that live there are the happiest and healthiest people in that region. Those who happen to visit that place, usually by accident, often have a desert experience. As a side note, one hundred percent of the residents there are Roman Catholics. When they have difficulties, their only recourse is to turn to God, since they are miles away from modern civilization.

Today, we are celebrating the feast of St. Patrick, who at the age of sixteen, was captured, sold as a slave, and tasked by his master to take care of the animals in the remote mountain hills in Ireland. It was unfortunate, but it was there that Patrick had a desert experience. It was there that he learned to turn to God because he had no one to help him.

Everything got better from then on. He not only became a happy slave, but six years later, after he was able to return to his parents, he answered God’s call to serve His people full time as a priest. He not only forgave his captors and those who treated him badly when he was a slave in Ireland, but he also offered the remainder of his life, preaching God’s living words to all the people in that country, so they were able to get to know God in a deeply personal way.

We are now in the second week of the forty-day season of Lent, where we also try to have our own desert experience. Once again we discover God’s presence in our lives, the God who is always with us and within us. In today’s gospel, we have heard the story of Our Lord’s transfiguration. The lives of Peter, James, and John were no doubt transformed by that experience, where for a few seconds, they were able to see Jesus’ glorified body and to hear the voice of the heavenly Father saying, “This is my chosen Son, listen to Him.” Peter, James, and John not only listened to Jesus, but in spite of their human weaknesses and frailties, they offered their lives to Him. St. Patrick did not only listen to God’s call, but he offered his whole life, ministering to God’s flock.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, every time we wake up each morning, the Lord God is inviting us to listen to His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life. It is through Him, with Him, and in Him that we will find life in all its fullness. May our own desert experience during this season of Lent lead us to rediscover the kind of life that the Lord Jesus is offering us.

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