If anyone wishes to come after me,
he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Luke 9: 23
Lenten greetings to you all... I meant to post yesterday, in commemoration of Ash Wednesday, but in a way I'm glad that I never quite had the time... The readings for today are so rich...
Lent has always been a good liturgical season for me. I look forward to Lent. It's the time for making a new start... for hitting the spiritual "reset" button... to make things right. Essentially, it is a time for conversion, deepening, and allowing ourselves to be re-rooted in God. What could be a greater grace than that?
Actually, each day we have the choice. Not just in Lent. ... Our first reading from Deuteronomy points that out "I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him." And our Gospel from Luke reminds us of the daily nature of choosing to pick up our cross... for in this is life.
Life. Lent is about life - each day choosing the path that leads to life. Lent is about having our lives re-ordered... About being planted near the waters of life so that our lives can bear abundant fruit... It's about having God as the center, source, and goal of our lives and being rid of those obstacles that impede that.
But, it's not just about our lives. It's about the life of the world... Re-ordering our world so that it becomes what God created it to be - the Kingdom of God marked by peace, justice, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, love.
Yesterday the governor of Illinois abolished the death penalty in that state (thank you for choosing life!). Here in Ohio we will execute someone today. ... People who desire rights are being persecuted, murdered in the streets of Libya, Egypt, Bahrain... Fighting continues in Afganhastan and Iraq... Human rights abuses continue in Mexico, El Salvador, Zimbabwe... millions in the U.S. live in poverty with dwindling avenues to seek help...
Lent. Prayer. Fasting. Almsgiving...
"This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed." ~ Isaiah 58: 6-8a
May you be richly blessed as we enter the Lenten season.