Bishop urges individuals to get
to the ‘root’ of the problem at Lent
By DAVID MYERS
Southwest Kansas Register
“Who likes to garden?” asked Bishop John B. Brungardt during his Ash Wednesday homily at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Dodge City, during which he donned gardening gloves and held pruning shears.
“Sometimes gardening is like our spiritual life.” Next to the bishop stood a large house plant.
“Sometimes when we sin, we go to confession, and we thank the Lord that we can clip away at our sins,” he said, snipping a small twig from the plant. “Maybe it’s the sin of gossip. We clip away: Father please forgive me. Maybe it’s the sin of disobedience -- talking back at home or at school. Clip away those sins. Sometimes it’s the sin of materialism. … Clip away. …”
What often happens, the bishop said, is that “the next time you go to confession you confess to the same sin.
“Clip away that sin again. You ask, Lord, please forgive me again.
“You get stuck in this habit, this pattern of sin. The Lord is not asking us to be stuck in this pattern. The Lord is asking us to dig deep, to get at the roots. The Lord wants us to dig deep to those roots of sin. ... This is what’s deep inside. … These are the underlying false attitudes or beliefs that lead us to those sins that we keep clipping away. If we get to the root, to what’s deep inside, the Lord will help us make progress. …
“Sometimes,” he said, “the false beliefs, these lies -- we don’t even know they’re there. What are examples of these lies that I want to dig deep and get to the root of? Maybe I think I’m not good enough. I’m a mistake. That’s a lie.
“Maybe my dad or my mom or my child doesn’t love me; maybe even God doesn’t love me. That’s a lie. Let’s root that out with the help of God….
“Maybe I don’t have what it takes to make me a good man or a good woman. It can’t be. God does not call me that way.
“Maybe I think things are more important than people. That’s a lie. Maybe this sin that I am stuck in will give me peace and comfort. No.”
With a large piece of plastic covering the sanctuary, Bishop Brungardt pulled the houseplant from its pot, saying as he did that to rid ourselves of these lies – to get rid of “these wrong beliefs and attitudes” – we must get to the deepest root.
“Sometimes” he said as he pulled away the dirt, “there is pain that pierces my heart. Maybe I felt that Mom or Dad rejected me. Maybe I was abused physically or emotionally. We don’t know these aching roots. But whatever they may be, with God, there’s a way to get out. We have a way to clip those roots. Are you ready at Lent to get down deep, to change and convert?”
He urged those gathered to admit to God and themselves that “I am tired of this life of sin and lies.”
He said people should “surrender everything I am to this loving trinitarian God, to completely surrender, to not hold back, to give everything to my loving God.”
He then urged those gathered to “ask this loving God to set me free. I ask Jesus, the way the truth and the light, to set me free, forgive my sins.
“First off this Lent is to go to confession,” he said. “Ask God the Holy Spirit to reveal the deceitful sinfulness of these lies.
“I ask God, the heavenly Father. to heal me from the pain of these wounds. It might be big things, it might be little things. It might have happened yesterday, it might have happened 60 years ago.
“Father, Son and Holy Spirit, let me be open to this healing of your touch.
“Let me be seized by your divine providence, to trust, to be vulnerable, to raptly listen to your word that will heal me and forgive me and reveal to me the path for my life.
“Let me be wrapped in your loving embrace, dear Lord.
“There will be confessions after Mass to get us started on this journey of healing, this journey of holiness. Let us be made holy by our gentle Jesus, who loves us more than we can ask or imagine.”