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Our Lady of Victory / St. Malachy
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Our Lady of Victory
490 Charles Street
Gatineau, Québec
J8L 2K5

Mass:     Sunday   9:00 AM
            Thursday 10:00 AM

St. Malachy
3889 Route 315
Mayo, Québec
J8L 3Z8

Mass: Saturday 7:00 PM






Fr. Albanus’ Reflections on the Sunday Liturgy

Lent: Dying out of Love to Live Forever
Today’s liturgy focuses on the approaching death of Jesus in which He offered His life for others. We are reminded that we too must possess heaven by dying to self and spending our lives in self-giving, sacrificial service. In the first reading, the Prophet Jeremiah announces that God would replace our Covenant of Judgement with a New Covenant of Forgiveness of sins. The people of God failed to keep, the old covenant made at the foot of Mount Sinai, contrary to their promise of fidelity to God. Instead, history showed a succession of betrayals; and the consequence was ruin at the hand of their enemies. God will make a new Covenant to cope with their infidelity, a Covenant that will be different from the first. The old Covenant was founded on beautiful laws; the commandments of God were written on stones and only served as road signs and never penetrated the people. They gave the people direction but did not give them the power to move in the required direction. The people were too weak to keep the beautiful laws.

Signs and strong words are of no use when there is no strength. In the New Covenant, the commandments would be engraved in the most intimate part of humans, in their hearts. The laws would no longer be an external imposition but a “felt interior need to behave well, a desire, and resolve to speed along God’s way, without need for anybody to teach anyone else” (Armelini, F vol. B, p.93). The Spirit of God in the person’s heart would be the guiding force, to give the strength to overcome all temptations, even the seemingly insurmountable ones.

This prophecy of the New Covenant began to be realized at Easter, when Jesus, by dying and entering into the glory of the Father, gave us His Spirit, His strength. When the Spirit of God which has been planted in us like a small seed grows to maturity, then the kingdom of God will be fully with us. The Letter to the Hebrews, our second reading, speaks about the dual nature of Christ: He is both God and man. The author tells us that it is by His suffering and death, in obedience to His Father’s will, that Jesus established this new and better Covenant as prophesied by Jeremiah (Jer. 31:31-34). Today’s passage stresses the reaction of Jesus to suffering and death. As man, Jesus felt what every person feels in these circumstances. He went through all the difficulties and temptations we all experience. The only difference is that He was never overcome by evil and was always faithful to the Father unlike us. The Gospel echoes the same message: Jesus uses the metaphors of the “sown wheat grain” and the “spent life” to teach the same message. In nature, nothing is produced without passing first through death. The grain of wheat, before turning into a wheat stalk, must first disappear under soil. It is by His suffering and death that Jesus is bringing life and liberation to the sinful world, just as the grain of wheat sown in the field ceases to remain itself alone by germinating and then growing into a plant which produces many new grains.

The Gospel has a lot of implication for us all: it is by self-sacrificial lives of holy men and women that life and salvation come to humankind. When we “die” to our selfishness, we “rise” to new life in Jesus Christ. To be “buried in the earth” means avoiding sin, accepting suffering and living for others. Again, all those who want to save their lives, to bring about the birth of a new world, must first have the courage to die. That is, they must give themselves up in love. Jesus says: “The person who loves their life loses it, and the person who hates their life in this life will keep it for eternal life”. Like Christ, we reach the utmost fulfillment of our lives when we give ourselves up to death for love of our brothers and sisters. Only life spent for others will be glorified here and hereafter. It is better to burn out than to rust out (cf Mark 8:35; Mt 16:25; 10:39; Lk 9:24). Lent is a time to take a decision to “die”. Happy Sunday!


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490 Charles Street • Gatineau • Québec • J8L 2K5
Telephone: (819) 986-3763
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