Bishop Saenz's Ash Wednesday Video (English and Spanish)

BeReal: Meeting Jesus in the Mess of Life

Lent 2024 graphicLent gives us a chance to peel back the layers and get to the heart of what matters most. This Lent, we’ll walk these 40 days with Jesus who showed us we don’t have to come before God perfectly. God just asks us to show up authentically as our whole selves. This season is an opportunity to set aside the carefully curated life we often like to project to the world and instead embrace what’s real. We will meet Jesus in the messiness of our lives and recognize that God is right there with us. 

Ash Wednesday - Real Faith| Matthew 6:1-6,16-21

In Matthew, Jesus warns against both giving tithes and fasting as the hypocrites do. Faith is not meant to be a performance. God doesn’t want a show of faith but a real faith - a relationship with us as we truly are. As we begin our Lenten journey, we reflect on what real faith looks like and how we can come before God as we truly are, in humility, authenticity and gratitude. 

Week 1 - Real Life | Mark 1:9-15

Mark shows, in just a few short verses, how Jesus moved from a high point of his baptism where God’s voice proclaimed him as God’s beloved one, to being in the valley of temptation in the desert, and then launching his public ministry in Galilee. We know all too well that life can throw us highs and lows in short succession. Jesus shows us how to stay close to the Father in the moments of spiritual highs and the seasons of struggle and everything in between. This is real life. And God wants to walk with us through it all. 

Week 2 - Real Presence | Mark 9:2-9

On the mountaintop where Jesus is transfigured, he shows us what real presence means. He is authentically present with the Creator. Peter’s response is to make a show of things; he misses the opportunity for real presence. This week we’ll reflect on how we’re each called to be really present to God and to others - and how we’re transformed by grace in those moments.

Week 3 - Real Conviction | John 2:13-22

Jesus saw injustice being done in God’s name and in God’s house - money changers and people selling animals for temple sacrifice were notorious for ripping people off in the name of religion. This is one of the places in scripture we see Jesus truly angry, displaying the fullness of his human emotion. In John’s gospel we see his passion for justice clearly. We are called to have the same kind of conviction that drives our actions, to put our faith into practice to make real change in the world that will benefit others. 

Week 4 - Real Forgiveness | John 3:14-21 / Numbers 21:4-9

As we continue our walk through Lent, we take a moment to look honestly at our lives and recognize where we’ve fallen short. The gospel helps shed light on the darker places of our spirits we’d rather hide and allows us to see more clearly. Jesus invites us to an honest account of our lives so that we might receive the gift of real forgiveness from a God who is always merciful, always gracious, always welcoming us back.

Week 5 - Real Talk | John 12:20-33

In one of the last passages before Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, John shows us how Jesus responds with total honesty - both with his friends and with God. There is no sugar coating or facade here. There is only Jesus in his authentic self. Can we be that real as well? As we prepare to enter Holy Week and walk with Jesus through his passion and death so that we might celebrate his resurrection in full joy, this is an opportunity to be real with God, with others and with ourselves. 

Palm Sunday | Mark 11:1-11 (Palm Processional), Mark 15:1-39 (Passion)

This Sunday can feel a little like a rollercoaster if your church weaves palms and passion together. We begin with Jesus, the King of Kings, entering Jerusalem on a humble donkey. It doesn’t get more real than that. And then we tell the story of his crucifixion in all its gory detail. As we enter this Holy Week we’re invited to come just as we are, to step into the story and walk with Jesus step by step from palm-strewn road to table fellowship to calvary and into resurrection life. 

Easter Sunday | Acts 10:34-43 and John 20:1-18

Today, we celebrate the dawn of a new day. Jesus’ resurrection launches us into a new way of life as Easter people. We are called to live with real joy - resurrection people who are assured of God’s love and grace. Live as children of the light, in real and authentic faith in the God whose light cannot be quenched by the darkness of evil and death. 


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