Mark 1:12-15

Lent is a time of remembering those who live in the desert not of their own choosing, those have been deserted and forgotten—I see them, I touch them, I serve them everyday—in the Tenderloin and Haight—beaten down, drugged, worn out, lost, ragged, and homeless. They succumb to despair when they hear no alleluias. Lent is a time to clear those distractions that keep us from seeing the inhabitants of the real deserts of our day—in San Francisco, in Vallejo-and it should be a time for ascetic practices that deprive us of simply more then pleasure.  When St. Augustine preached about the traditional ascetic practices of almsgiving, the congregation applauded, and he responded with a  caution: “My brothers these plaudits are no more than the leaves of trees; what we are looking for is fruit!” Lent is a time to remember our own deserts, and hear God’s voice of grace tell us that he redeems us, and loves us. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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