I would like to invite us to come together and unite around being agents for healing and instruments of hope. As we enter this new Lent it has already started unlike any other Lenten Season. We administered and received ashes in a new way, venues were set up outdoors, large indoor gathering avoided. Plain and simply things are different! I believe this First weekend of Lent is an opportunity for hope. We can be encouraged by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because just as we are tempted and struggle Jesus all the more struggled and ultimately gave the total gift of of Himself. Whatever you’re Going through, Be encouraged Jesus has already done it!
As we look around us there is so much that seems to come our way and our nation and world is in so great need for healing and reconciliation. The sickness of the Pandemic, those suffering from natural disaster, as people are still without electricity and water. Our nation and our church are divided and we need healing from hatred, prejudice and partisanship. We see leaders still attaching each other and instead of seeking healing we are busy judging others and using the sacraments as weapons. We also see the sickness of ignorance and lack of knowledge as those who seek justice and the common good are demonized as either trouble makers or just not good Catholics. We are accused of meddling and being political while at the same time complete ignorance of Catholic Social Teaching and the great work of the Campaign for Human Development, (CCHD) and the prophetic witness of Pope Francis. It’s ok to be about a ministry of mercy of feeding the hungry, and clothing those who are naked, but changing social and economic systems that perpetuate these injustices is just to much for some. Then let’s not forget the national generational sickness of racism is still effecting our nation and many still deny and refuse to recognize it. In the midst of all of this so many continue to struggle from unemployment and the hardships it places on family. This picture looks dismal and we may seem afraid and lost, but there is hope found in the life giving example of Jesus.
So we like Jesus truly find ourselves in a spiritual and moral desert and we need to see a way through to experience the healing power of Jesus in our nation, our church and our very lives. With the power of the Holy Spirit, the love force between the Father and Son, Jesus is led into the desert where He is to face challenges and temptations, however Jesus makes it through standing on the Word and love of the Father. He proclaims this time as a time of fulfillment.
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
God is deeply concerned for His creation and enters into a covenant with Noah that he will not destroy to land again. Each time we see a rainbow in the sky and marvel at it’s beauty we are reminded of God’s care for creation. Having been entrusted as stewards of God’s creation we too are called to care for what God has given us. Fore and foremost of God’s creation is the human person. The desert of Lent is an opportunity to allow Jesus to walk with us and to stop and listen to Him speak to our hearts. How are we caring for one another? Do we see and recognize that we are all related, all life, both human and the natural world around us? Do we see human life as sacred, from the child in the womb, to child on the street, or those locked in cages? Do we see as sacred the lives of those seeking asylum and those being sold in human trafficking? Do we see the life of the immigrant, the homeless, those living with HIV, those dying of the Corona Virus, those without heat and water, are these lives sacred too? Can we see the dignity of all human persons not matter, color, creed or gender? Let this Lenten season be a time for the transformation and healing of our hearts and minds. Let’s ask to be healed from judgement and hatred, healed from division and rage and from anger and bitterness. Let us see in this time truly a time that God can fulfill his purpose and will in and over our lives if we will only let Him. Stop the Hate!, Start the Loving! Like Jesus let us proclaim the Gospel of God. AMEN!