Great Lent is a time for change, for transformation. The Maronite Church begins Great Lent with Cana Sunday, a commemoration of the transformation of water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana at Galilee. This change prepares us for the evening when we change wine into his blood and bread into his body.
Mary had only to mention to Jesus that something was wrong: “They have no wine.” Jesus understood that his Mother was not simply making an observation, but was seeking his powerful intervention. On her part, Mary was confident that he would listen to her. She had given birth to him and had lived with him for thirty years, so she had faith in him. At first, Jesus responded with an apparent refusal, “Woman, (a term of respect which he would also use on the cross) how does this concern of yours involve me?” The reason for his response was that his hour had not yet come, namely the hour of his death and resurrection, after which he would answer all the prayers of his Mother.
Jesus came into the world for a definite purpose and task, as we all do. He did not see his life in terms of the immediate needs of any particular moment, but only in terms of his purpose and the eternal plan of the Father. All of his deeds had to correspond and lead to the ultimate fulfillment of his life.
Mary knew that her prayer would not be refused; she told them to do whatever he told them. Mary trusted in her Son and her request was fulfilled. She told the servants as she tells all of us: do whatever my Son tells you.
Jesus instructed the servants to fill the six water pots. The number six might be significant because in the mentality of the time, six was an imperfect number. (Seven was considered as perfection.) The six water pots can represent the imperfection of the old law, which Jesus is to fill with the wine of the Gospel and of his grace. The imperfection of law was transformed into the perfection of grace. The imperfection of law was transformed into the perfection of grace. These jars held 180 gallons of water, which was to be transformed into excellent wine. What was originally lacking is now to be found superabundance.
Aside from the rich theological significance of the transformation of water into wine, let us reflect on the simplicity and “homeliness” of the act. Jesus knew that the lack of wine would be source of embarrassment to the groom and misfortune for the guests. He did not rejoice in the misfortune of others, but used his great power to save a simple man of Cana from humiliation. Let us imitate his example and be concerned with the simple needs of those around us and how we can fulfill them.
A BLESSED JOURNEY OF LENT!
EPARCHY OF OUR LADY OF LEBANON OF LOS ANGELES REGULATION FOR GREAT LENT
Then to all Christ said, “Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in my steps” (Lk 9:23).
The Church has always helped us fulfill these words of Jesus by prescribing very definite penance for all Catholics. Accordingly, the Pope, the Patriarch and the American bishops have outlined obligatory fast and abstinence. Our Eparchial Regulations are:
· Ash Monday (February 8, 2016) and Great Friday (Good) Friday (March 25, 2016) are days of abstinence for all Catholics over the age of 14. On these two days, fast as well as abstinence is also obligatory for those from the ages of 18-59. Abstinence means abstinence from meat and meat products. Fast means no food from midnight to noon – except for plain water. No Catholic will lightly excuse himself or herself from this obligation.
· All other Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat (and meat products) for everyone 14 years of age and older. Here again Catholics will not hold themselves lightly excused, but if there is a serious health problem, this obligation would not apply.
· Fasting from midnight to noon daily is optional.
· During this Holy Year of Mercy we are also asked to use every Friday to perform a “different gesture” of mercy (Matthew 25-31-45 gives us excellent examples).
· We strive to make all days of Lent a time of prayer and penance.
Benediction of the Cross
The Benediction of the Cross will take place every Friday evening during Lent at 7pm. Following the Benediction there will be a potluck supper in the Lebanon Room. During Lent, please remember to abstain from meat on all Fridays and to fast and abstain on Ash Monday and Great Friday.
Benediction of the Cross Speakers:
Friday February 12: Chorbishop Moussa Joseph
Friday February 19: Bishop Emeritus Robert Shaheen
Friday February 26: Bishop Edward Rice
Friday March 4: Monsignor Michael Witt
Friday March 11: Deacon Louis Peters
Friday March 18: Chorbishop Moussa Joseph
Schedule of Friday Lenten Meals:
February 12: Ladies Society March 4: Faith and Heritage
February 19: Men’s Society March 11: Kitchen Volunteers
February 26: Choir March 18: Parish Council
As we have announced in the past, we are still in great need of altar servers at ALL MASSES. We are looking for all interested BOYS AND GIRLS that would like to serve at mass to send an email to Tony or David. We would love to have more servers and can teach you everything you need to know. NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE NECESSARY
Tony (email@example.com); David (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Men’s Society: Jason Oesterlei (President), Jim Risk (Vice-President), Sir David Mueckl (Treasurer), Don Leong (Secretary)
Ladies Society: Teri Elking (President), Jeannie Fratto (Vice-President), Maggie Risk (Treasurer), Shelly Vitale (Secretary)
Congratulations and Best Wishes to all the New Officers!
Ladies Society Fashion Show
Mark your calendars for the Fashion Show Sunday March 6th. Tickets will go on sale Sunday February 14th. We need models ( Women, men, and children of all ages), vendors, and volunteers to help. If anyone is interested please contact Gina Fanetti at email@example.com
The Kitchen is in need of help preparing for Palm Sunday and Wednesday Lunches. We depend on our Parish Volunteers to help make the Wednesday lunches successful and any time you can give will be very helpful.
Rolling Cabbage Rolls on Mondays @ 8 am,
Rolling Grape Leaves Feb 16th @ 4:30pm and Feb 17th @ 9am also March 8th and March 22nd @ 4:30pm,
Making Kibbi Aras on Tuesdays @ 8 am, Preparing to serve lunch on Wednesdays from 8 am-11:00am,
Serving Wednesday Luncheon from 11am-2pm.
Beginning Wednesday February 3rd, the lunch line will be open until 1:30 pm and carry-outs will remain open until 2:00pm. The Cedars will be closed for lunch on Wednesday February 17th, but the kitchen will remain open Mon-Wed to prepare for Palm Sunday.
All that is known about Maron, the spiritual father and protector of the Maronites comes from Theodoret, the bishop of Cyr. In approximately 444, Theodoret undertook the project of writing a religious history about his region. Theodoret never knew Maron personally, but only through the disciples of this holy man. He described Maron as “the one who has planted for God the garden which flourishes now in the region of Cyr.” Little is known of the birth or youth of Maron because Theodoret was unconcerned about that aspect of his life. He felt that Maron was a man born not for this world, but for heaven. In his description of the beginning of Maron’s life, Theodoret asserts that Maron had “already increased the number of saints in heaven.”
According to history, Maron was never satisfied with the ordinary practices of asceticism, but was “always seeking for new ways to accumulate all the treasures of wisdom.”
Maron was the spiritual leader not only of the hermits who lived near him, but indeed of all of the Christian faithful in the area. He used to counsel them, heal their bodily and spiritual ills. All of these apostolic endeavors manifested the wisdom and holiness of the hermit Maron.
Some hold the opinion that Maron and John Chrysostom studied together at Antioch before 398 and that the famous letter sent by John Chrysostom was indeed sent to this hermit Maron and not to some other an anchorite with the same name. If the monk referred to in this letter if from the region of Cyr, it is indeed our spiritual father, Maron.
The date of Maron’s death is placed somewhere between 407 and 423. Because of his great popularity among the people, riots broke out at the time of his death because everyone wanted to save his remains in their village.
The Maronite Church formerly celebrated the feast of this great saint on January 5th. (This is the day in which the Church of Kfarhai was consecrated in his honor.) However, in the seventeenth century, the feast was transferred to February 9th. Lebanon has proclaimed Maron as its patron saint and Pope Benedict XIV granted a plenary indulgence to everyone who visited a Maronite church on February 9th.
The gospel tells us that a tree is known by its fruits and we know from Theodoret that the garden of Maron flourished after his death. One is able to number approximately twenty saints among Maron’s disciples, three of whom are women. Theodoret describes these disciples of Maron with these words: “These anchorites were virtuous and heroic, totally dedicated to a life of contemplative prayer. They were strangers to any other consideration in the world. They were obedient to Church authority and tried to imitate their predecessor in their exercises of austerity. At times, their acts of penance and mortification were excessive, but they were always obedient to ecclesiastical authority.”
After the Council of Chalcedon, Bishop Theodoret worked to construct the famous Monastery of St. Maron. In addition to being a stronghold for the defense of the teachings of the Council of Chalcedon, this monastery was for a long time the center of the cultural and theological heritage of Antioch.
St. Maron Prayer
O Lord, accept the prayers we offer in memory of our Father, St. Maron. Bless and protect the people who bear your name. Make us worthy of his holy legacy that we may carry the message of your Gospel throughout the world. Grant faithfulness to his people and courage to his inheritance.