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Caution: Putting a Sunday homily on the Website is tricky business. All the viewer has is a written text. A homily, on the other hand, is "an oral event". It may not have been said or heard the way it was written. In addition, a roughly ten-minute homily is part of a roughly one-hour worship event in which God and God's people communicate with each other by means of ritual, symbol, song, proclamation, prayer. Not everything in these homilies is original. As a homilist, I rely on and at times borrow from other homilists and writers who are not properly mentioned in this format. I am often indebted to them.

Father William Marrevee, s.c.j.

5th Sunday of Lent Year B

Share Lent - What does it really mean?

Over the past few years, as part of the Share Lent program, many good things have been said about Development and Peace and its achievements, in assisting and being in solidarity with those suffering grief and anguish. In the past few weeks, we’ve given you even more Share Lent information, such as the Lifestyle Awareness Calendar, the Share Lent 2006 magazine and this leaflet called Partners in action.

I have personally seen some of these good works and these examples have re-enforced my commitment to Development and Peace. Today, however, I would like to take the next few minutes to reflect on how we can support the Share Lent program.

As a result of television, telecommunications, internet and newspapers, we are immediately made aware of both social injustice and its victims. Almost daily, we are witnesses to unimaginable anguish, suffering and carnage. We often ask ourselves “how can this happen?” and “why isn’t something being done to protect the poorest of the poor?” In today’s world, there is no escaping the fact that we are knowledgeable and aware. As Catholics, we should also ask the question: “What is our responsibility?”

Scripture and Christ’s teaching make the call for justice just as non-negotiable as prayer and private morality. Jesus taught us to love our neighbours as ourselves.

The Pope, in his first encyclical, states: “The church cannot neglect the service of charity any more than she can neglect the Sacraments and the Word”. He further states that the church’s deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility: of proclaiming the word, celebrating the sacraments and exercising the ministry of charity.

Development and Peace, with the support of Catholics around the world, is exercising this ministry of charity on the church’s behalf. In support of Christ’s teaching, it has a vision that insists that all people, especially those who are poor, afflicted, or in any way excluded, be agents of their own destiny. It’s a vision of unconditional love that embraces all women, children and men as human subjects, not as objects of pity and charity, but as partners from whom we can get a glimpse of our own poverty.

So, to answer the question “what does Share Lent really mean?” I believe it’s about supporting the church’s mission; it’s about personal caring and generosity; it’s also about giving. Yes, it is about financial support and our two parishes are noted for their generosity. But, I believe it’s about more. Share Lent provides us with an opportunity to reflect on what else we can do. For some, it could be deciding to become personally involved, to volunteer to promote Development and Peace, to simply take the initiative to learn more about its role in the world and provide moral support. And for others, it may be offering up prayers, intentions, or simply lighting a candle in support of the organization and individuals who are trying to bring the church’s teaching to fruition.

In today’s gospel, Jesus says “whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the father will honour”. Share Lent provides us with an opportunity to serve and follow in our own special way.

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