Restored to Oneness in the First Week of Lent

March 10, 2022

Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. John’s,

Our Lent Small Groups have been meeting throughout the building at a variety of times and in many spaces. Sometimes you can’t find an open room! What a great problem to have. We have about 140 people involved in small groups with 20 Facilitators prayerfully preparing the groups sessions each week. During our time together we look at the upcoming readings for Sunday Mass. What a great way to enter in more deeply to Lent and our Sunday experience. This week’s session is focused on Listening to God.

In both our first reading and Gospel reading, Abram, Peter, James, and John each experience a supernatural communication with God. An amazing experience for each to be sure. In both responses to this experience, we see our own humanness.

Abram asks the common question, Lord how will I know that what you say is true and that it will happen? It bothers Abram so much that he heads to sleep and dread and darkness fell upon him. Has anyone else gone to sleep and felt the darkness of night filled with dread, anxiety, fear, worry about life’s challenges? Me too!

It is the same with Peter, James, and John. We see their first response to Jesus, with His garment dazzling white, as one of recognition. They recognize the glorious experience that is happening around them.  As soon as Peter mentioned he wants to stay and build a chapel, a cloud descends, and the apostles are afraid. Fear is a very regular human response to what we don’t fully understand what’s happening in our life or the common question of why it might be happening. Sometimes too, we have holy fear when we are trying to wrestle with who God is and what He may be doing in our life.

God speaks clearly in our confusion, fear, and dread.  He says to Abram:” On this day the Lord made a covenant with Abram.” And to the apostles, He says: “This is My Son, My Chosen; listen to Him!”  He establishes a covenant of love where He is always faithful to his promises and gives us His Son Jesus to be with us unto the end of the age. What an amazing hope we have to cling to this Lent!

In Christ,

Jessica Balzarini
Director of Parish Life