Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Jesus said to his disciples: "Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
"When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
"When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you."
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
What a year it has been since last Ash Wednesday, huh? I mean, the Cubs, The Donald, we're not pregnant, all things we couldn't predict 12 months ago when we began Lent last time. So, what's your prediction this Lent? What are you anticipating? I'm going to try, no, I will give more of myself. I want to look back at these 40 days and be proud of the accomplishment of growth. When we look at a baseball season, thankfully as we're getting into that season as well, it can draw many parallels. When we think about athletes, even professional athletes who have had five or six months "off" from competing, their bodies are not in "mid season" shape. Some arrive overweight and tired, some arrive fitter than ever ready for the challenge of the season. So let’s ask ourselves: How are we looking? Are we looking to take on the challenges of new struggles that will arise these next 40 days.
Let's ask ourselves again. What’s your end game for Lent? We have a process we do with our missionaries and counselors during training often of "Reverse Engineering," where we look at the questions "Where do you want to be at the end of the season?" I want to be the starting pitcher in the World Series. I want to grow in holiness. I want to be a guide to others, to be unashamed of following God's will. I want to follow Gods will so closely, the people that know me the nest, my wife, kids, coworkers see something different in me. That's not going to happen if we simply give up sweets or exercise more. Let's as a community set real goals for prayer, intimacy with the Creator of the universe, every day. Car rides, showers, bedtime, whatever, let's make a real commitment to become more intimate with the Lord. If the chocolate thing works for you, great. Our church needs prayer. Our country needs prayer. The community of The Pines, the families, the campers, the clergy, the staff, the alumni, we can be a moving force to change our world. Let's do it these 40 days, and come out champions, the likes the world has never seen before.
John, a native of New City, NY moved to The Pines in December 2007 with his wife Ronna and their three children, Brendan, Molly and Kiera from North Carolina. John and Ronna dreamed of managing a Catholic camp and are overjoyed to lead this enthusiastically Catholic place. They believe wholeheartedly in the mission of The Pines and have blessed the camp with many gifts and talents over the course of their time here. Their energy and passion are reflected everyday in the life of camp. John loves salt water taffy, coaching baseball, and the New York Knicks.