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March 1, 2009

Who Are We and Who Are We Called To Be?
                                    
    As we enter into the season of Lent we are once again given the opportunity to   reflect on those aspects of our life that are of most importance but are often placed on the back burner.  In all the hustle and bustle of our lives we all too often neglect the sacred component that offers us true peace and happiness.  During this season we, at St. Paul’s will take the time to reflect on the Gospel message offered us each week.  The reflection is written by Rev. Neil Kookoothe from the Diocese of Cleveland.       Lorette P. Nault

    What was the temptation that Jesus faced in the desert?  Mark does not tell us.  Could it have been, as Matthew tells it, the temptation to turn stone into bread and thus satisfy his own hunger?  Was it the temptation to call upon the heavenly powers for his own protection?  Was it the temptation of power and pride and possession?  Mark leaves the question unanswered.

    I cannot help but believe however, that temptation is less about bread and power and possessions than it is about who we are and who awe are called to be.  Perhaps Jesus was tempted to lay aside his identity as the Son of God and in so doing lay aside his proclamation of God’s kingdom.  The powers of evil would have been quite pleased.

    Jesus would have no part of it.  He was led by the Spirit, led to proclaim glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, sight to the blind and God’s favor to the oppressed.  In a word, he was led to solidarity with the whole of humanity.

    It is the same temptation we all face; the temptation to forget who we are and who we are called to be.  But in Baptism we are infused with the Spirit and we give ourselves to living no longer for ourselves but for him – we share his ministry of proclamation and solidarity.

    In partnership with Catholic Relief Services (a Social Justice arm of the church) we are able to stand in solidarity with peoples around the world.  In Egypt for instance, through the work of CRS, we stand with more than 10,000 vulnerable women who live in the midst of poverty, and who benefit from small businesses established through microfinance.  Many women, who some years ago found themselves unable to provide enough food and adequate shelter or schooling for their children, are now debt free and able too provide a better life for their families.

    The CRS microfinance programs are designed to strategically target women in an effort to uplift entire families and communities.  CRS microfinance programs bring not only hope, but also opportunities to access food, better housing, healthcare, educational opportunities and family savings.  We will not forget who we are – i.e., brothers and sisters in Christ.  Together we can transform the world.


    Let us make an effort to remember, through prayer, who we are and who we are called to be!