Brothers and Sisters of Holy Redeemer,
Lent will be upon us in a few days. While it may not be everybody’s favorite time, it has the potential to be the most spiritually enlightening and liberating seasons of the liturgical year. That is, of course, if we allow it to be.
In a few days, we will be signed with ash crosses on our foreheads and one of two phrases will be spoken to us—“Repent and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Both are reminders to return, to turn again, to what is most important, to God. They remind us to think about what gives us life, and run, sprint towards it, leaving behind all that is a hindrance or distraction! Now this might be more readily apparent with the first phrase than it is with the second. Yet, if we read the second—“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”—in light of Genesis 2, in which God breaths life into clay, breathes his Spirit into the first human, this notion of running towards what gives us life, makes great sense. Precisely because it reminds us that without God, without his Spirit we are not living our fullest lives.
Lent is a beautiful reminder of this and a great opportunity for us to return and continue to return to God. This most often requires both doing/adding something and giving something up in our lives. The traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving highlight this. The point, of course, of these practices is always to bring us closer to God and believe in the Good News of Jesus, in his Gospel.
With that said, perhaps God is inviting each of us as a parish to read the Gospel every day, or at least the Sunday Gospel. Perhaps you are being invited to pray the bi-weekly Family in Christ prayer aid or collect money for the Rice Bowl. Maybe God is calling you to participate in Stations of the Cross or confessions on Friday evenings or the Parish Penance Service, our two Simple Soup Suppers and Prayer nights (See bulletin insert for details). Perhaps God is asking you to extend a simple helping and compassionate hand to somebody you see daily.
Whatever it is that we decide to do this Lent, God is calling us to return to him and to continue to turn to him daily. If we do so, it certainly will be a spiritually enlightening, liberating and life-breathing season!
In our Holy Redeemer,