While this was published in the bulletin at the beginning of Lent, it can still be used to reflect on how our Lent has been going before it’s over in a few weeks.
Just as quickly as we began this segment of ordinary time, so too it comes to a close as we begin to get ready for Lent as Ash Wednesday arrives this week.
For us, living this Lenten season 2,000 years or so after Christ, we are presented with a sort of Back to the Future kind of paradox. For while we enter into this season of penance, we already know how the story ends, with the celebration of Christ’s resurrection at Easter.
As much as we all might like, that doesn’t however mean that we get to skip ahead to the end. Rather, we must fully enter into this Lenten season as an opportunity to grow closer with that same Christ by offering our own sacrifices. No, these sacrifices are not as big as the cross upon which our Savior was hung, but they are little ways for us to unite ourselves with him, to grow closer in that relationship.
The key is not to see Lent as a second chance at one’s New Year’s resolutions or some sort of a prolongated self-help plan. Lent isn’t just about me or you as individuals. It’s about a relationship. A relationship with Christ.
To maintain a friendship or one’s marriage, at times, we have to make sacrifices. Such sacrifices only lead us to care more for the other. This can be see in sports too, when individuals make sacrifices, the team succeeds, the bonds of unity on the team are stronger. While sacrifices might be difficult or painful, in the end, they strengthen the bonds of one’s relationship, no matter the arena, home, work or school. So too it is the same in the spiritual life and our relationship with Christ. We don’t give up things for Lent just because the Church, or your mother, told you to do so. We give up things in Lent because it is a form of sacrifice which draws us into a deeper and stronger relationship with God.
Wishing you all a Grace-filled Lent