My brothers and sisters, with only a couple of weeks left in our Lenten Journey, ask yourselves this: Have I been fulfilling my duties of fasting, penance and prayer during my journey?

Or have I been adding something special, something spiritual, something helpful to the members of my community, adding more prayer time, praying the rosary daily or making a commitment to come out every Friday for the Stations of the Cross for my Lenten Journey?

Or have I had a changed heart, or have I made changes in my life? Be assured that the Lord has been with you so far during Lent, and did you notice that as you wandered from your goals a little bit, He nudged you back toward them?! He wants you to be prepared for Holy Week.

Next to the Easter Vigil, Holy Thursday is the most profound and complex of all religious observances. It begins the Triduum (that is: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday), and Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with His Disciples, as He established the priesthood as we know it. During the Passover meal, Jesus established the sacrament of Holy Communion by breaking bread and passing the cup of wine, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you.” And also saying, “This is my blood, which is given for you.” Christ tells His Disciples, “Do this in memory of Me.”

Pope Francis says this about the Triduum: “Jesus loved his own in the world, and He loved them to the end. Jesus loved us. Jesus loves us. But without limits, always to the end. The love of Jesus for us has no limits, it is always more. He loves all of us to the point of giving His life.”

This Lent share your love and therefore inspire someone by living the Corporal Works of Mercy:

>> Feed the hungry. Bring canned goods to food pantries and soup kitchens as a family.

>> Give drink to the thirsty. Conserve water. Be thoughtful and protect our environment.

>> Shelter the homeless. Help neighbors care for their homes.

>> Clothe the naked. Donate your clothing to appropriate agencies.

>> Visit the sick. Visit the homebound and the elderly. Share a card with them.

>> Visit the imprisoned. Pray for or with the prisoner. Visit the lonely.

>> Bury the dead. Attend wakes and funerals. Provide meals for grieving families and friends.

Live the love we profess in every Sunday service, every Sunday Mass. Spread the Good News!

We must share the faith. Spread the Good News that we all believe in. Do this with a smile !

Show your love of Christ to your neighbors this Lenten Season! Be the face of Christ to everyone you meet! Get away from your electronic gadgets and look into your neighbor’s eyes and see maybe for the first time someone or something that you have overlooked. We as Christians, Catholic Christians, must bring joy and the love of Jesus to our family, friends and neighbors!

I know that as a deacon, part of my ministry is to communicate to my fellow parishioners the love of Jesus, His smile, His presence and healing spirit. We are called to share the Good News of our Lord. Share the salvation He gave us. As a papa, I need to keep giving loving support to my own children as they bring up their children in our faith. It is important to me to be there for my grands, to smile, play games, help them to say their prayers at meals and bedtime. I look in their eyes and see the face of Jesus in them. How can that be? Because He loves the children. Because He loved us enough to save us, save us by dying on a cross and rising on the third day! He is our Risen Savior. That is the end result of Lent.

During Lent, we long for the “living water” of salvation. During Lent, we want to receive the “living water” from the Word made Flesh. Let us acknowledge to our community that the desire in our hearts is the Eucharist, is in the Scriptures, is in sharing our love to all. We can do this by simply smiling and showing our love and in turn, Jesus Christ’s love, to everyone we meet on our Lenten Journey!

My friends, Jesus Christ gave us a new commandment at the Last Supper, “That you love one another, as I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” This is so important for our Lenten Journey. LOVE. Jesus so LOVED us that He died on a cross for each of us, so that we might have salvation and eternal life. So, s mile at a stranger, live the Corporal Works of Mercy and be the face of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! If you do this, your Lenten Journey will be complete!

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Bob Cox is a deacon at St. Anne Catholic Church in Florence. Contact him and other board members at fvboard@florencenews.com.

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