Gospel – Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

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.”

Reflection by Colman Coogan, FSC

A Senior Brother Looks Forward to the 46th General Chapter

“At that time your young men shall see visions and your old men will dream dreams”. Joel, 2:28, Acts, 2:17.

This quotation, addressed to the Jewish people by the prophet Joel, and voiced again by St. Peter on the first Pentecost – speaks as well now to all Lasallians to bridge distances of age, culture and lifestyle in an embrace of shared hopes, visions and dreams as we pray through this Lent prior to the Forty-sixth General Chapter.

Lent, Forty Days in the Desert

Both Matthew (4: 1-11) and Luke (4: 1-13) speak of Jesus’ days in the desert to focus on his mission to announce the Good News, a new covenant with God building another pathway to reach our living, loving God. So, too, will it be for us over the next forty days but not without dying to old paths, only to live again resurrected with new ones better suited to realize the vision and dreams of our founding Brothers.

A Christmas Letter, 2021

For your reflection, you will not find more clearly stated reasons for hope than from this recently received letter. Here, our Superior General and Councilors, positioned as they are to witness the Institute’s world view, recognize the harm inflicted by plague, causing flight by thousands of refugees from death, wars, poverty, sickness and political oppression.

Likewise, our Council is aware of a notable decrease in vocations among First World countries; similarly, they, and others, see an increase of candidates in the Third World. In those locations, however, there is present a need for longer and more deeply internalized formation programs for both Brothers and Partners if those vocations are to endure. Every Lasallian is in virtue of his/her call a catechist.

One cannot imply from this that there are no vocations in our own culture as we see them among us both stalwart and brave. Witnessing these – will others follow by virtue of our example?

With Pope Francis, do we dream of a better world which, while acknowledging the past, work toward a future that will “Inspire, Unite, and Work” built on sustainable strategies?

Toward this end the 46th Chapter will be composed of delegates from among our principle Brothers and Partners who through discussion, prayer and discernment will hand on to us decisions for our acceptance. Therefore, it is all the more necessary over the next forty Lenten days for us to pray, listen to those inklings of Faith shared by the Holy Spirit to prepare ourselves to receive these directives in order to envision our own pathways within the RELAL Region.

“Living and Dying in the Hope of Jesus”

For us Jesus’ resurrection is the ultimate ground and day by day power of our hope; it is what enables us to work for a more human world, a world in line with God’s will and so to wait trustingly for God’s salvation. In the risen Jesus we find God’s deepest intention confirmed forever: an abundantly happy life forever free of evil, life lived from its very source.

Senior Brothers have lived through many Chapters since Vatican II. Each has been a step advancing our God-given privilege to reach out, to catechize and to teach the poor. Yet, as important as these have been, the next Chapter nay be the most significant given the times in which we live. New pathways are imperative.

Let us join together this Lent in prayer and hope that the 46th General Chapter will be both a vision and a dream come true.

[1] Welcome to the Futures, Smithsonian, Arts and Industries Building, 2021.

[1] Epilogue, Jesus: An Historical Approximation. Jose A. Pagola, 8th ed., 2019 (Convivium Press, 2009)