Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Our Baptism is the small seed of eternal life, which makes us children of God, and gives us the power to do great things for others. It certainly cures us from the leprosy of which today's Gospel speaks about. Leprosy in the Bible refers to the worst tragedy for society, because it was incurable and very, very contagious. As we see in today's first Reading, the lepers stayed far away from people, and never came together with everyone else. Baptism makes us one with God and with each other. It confers on us the gifts of the Holy Spirit, so that we may love God and our neighbor as Christ has loved us first.
However, the small seed of our Baptism needs to be nourished, fertilized, watered and cared for. This is what this upcoming Lent is for all of us: the time to nourish and revitalize the power and grace of our Baptism, which makes us Christians and joyful witnesses of the Gospel of Christ. Our Lenten Mission has this amazing goal: to rekindle the flame the our Baptism; to stir up the beautiful gift we have and it might be dormant, or lukewarm, or half-dead. It's time to allow God's work in us to produce abundant fruits of holiness for many people waiting for fruits the Holy Spirit produces in those who stay in prayer in the Cenacle together with Mary and the apostles.
The cleansing of the leper didn't finish right then and there. It started a journey to the Church to witness before God's people how wonderful was Jesus' work in his life. That's the journey we begin this coming Lent: a journey to build Christ's community together! We have all been asked in the past months to consider giving sacrificially to the capital campaign for our new parish center. This time of Lent is the perfect time to give sacrificially to something that will bear much fruit. Our sacrifice today will ensure a place tomorrow where we can be one with God and with each other; a place where we can continue to water the seed of our Baptism and be joyful witnesses to those we encounter.
Remember, that we will begin this liturgical time with Ash Wednesday on February 14, followed by the first part of our Mission on Thursday, Stations of the Cross on Friday, and the second part of our Mission on Friday. The mission this year is “Journey to the Risen Christ.” I invite you to treat these four days as a retreat, and like the leper in the reading today, allow Christ to touch you and heal you, because He wills it.
Father Felix P. Medina-Algaba