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This Lenten Season, we have various opportunities to explore a fresh understanding of faith in the modern world. On Monday evenings, a Spanish speaking minister is engaged in a weekly presentation that focuses on the call of Love in the midst of Ministry. This series is taking place with ministers and leaders at St. Mary of the Lake Parish. This allows us the opportunity to come to know one another as we move toward the unity of our parishes. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we have engaged The Search, which is an online video series that leads us into discussion and prayer. Our fellow Catholics at St. Mary of the Lake are invited to these online gatherings. The details of these Lenten offerings are found in today’s bulletin. The purpose of these Lenten activities is to engage the mind, heart and soul in a way that changes our mindset. Did you know that repentance literally means “to change one’s mindset”? Repentance and renewal are the true mission of Lent but it can be easy to miss the true sense of this. What do you notice in life that is calling you to change your way of thinking and engaging? It is not hard to see the many circumstances of contemporary  life that are calling us to ongoing transformation. I won’t describe these ways because I know that you already know.
 
This past week, the title of the series in The Search was “Why A God”. We talked about how technology and scientific advances have truly amazed us. But we also discussed the importance of God even though we are so advanced technologically. The following statement of a physicist captured the focus of our discussion this week:
 
Science can tell us the “how” of things, “how” the universe works. But it can’t address certain
questions about the “why” of the universe – why it was created; why are we here?
 
This statement reminds us of the importance and power of having a sense of purpose and meaning. Life takes on vibrant, compelling energy as we remember our purpose. I also believe this is why Jesus was so upset in today’s Gospel.
 
What did Jesus do when he saw they had lost their sense of purpose and meaning? “He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables….” Scripture scholars inform us that this furious demonstration from Jesus was evidence of his profound passion for the mission of God. The rituals surrounding the Temple had lost their true purpose which was to bring people to God and make the Kingdom of God a visible reality. They had lost their way. This did not go well with Jesus. Places of worship should never exist for personal advantage and interests. The sole purpose for any church or temple is to worship God, that is, Love. We are the living stones of the temple and he is passionate about reminding us of our purpose. Purpose and meaning in life bring tremendous passion, enthusiasm and healing. Jesus will always cleanse our very lives and remind us of our original purpose. Why are we here?
 
Finally, Fr. Manuel Dorantes and I have been planning a gathering of some of the leaders from each of our parishes. We can unite in our common sense of purpose and mission. But, first, we want to just get to know one another. We want to invite the leaders to come together on Saturday March 13 at St. Mary of the Lake. We have to limit the number in attendance so we are having two separate, smaller meetings with individuals from each parish. Our meetings will be in the morning. This is just a beginning and there will be many more opportunities in the future.
 
God bless you as we journey through Lent.

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