The Real Call of Lent

23 Mar

What are we about this Lent? It’s running out fast!

Why do we fast or pray more or come to daily Mass?

Do we want to overcome this or that weakness, to grow a little closer to God?

Of course – and these are steps in the right direction.

But, the main goal is set for us in the first of the Ten Commandments: I am the Lord your God. You shall have no false gods before me (See Dt. 5:6-7).

Throughout history, God’s people have acted like the restless tide of an angry ocean – moving toward God and then away from him.

The Lord sent prophets and holy leaders like Elijah and Moses – and still his people acted like spoiled children, never satisfied and blaming God for the problems they themselves created.

Then the Lord God sent his only Son. The Son of God became a man, one of us in all things except sin. This man, Jesus of Nazareth, calls us back to the One True God.

He calls, but how do we respond? Are we like the Samaritan woman at the well? Are we uncomfortable with his presence? Do we question who he is and try to remake him in our own image – sort of domesticating the Lord so he fits OUR notion of God? (See Jn 4:5-42.)

To know the One True God, follow the experience of the woman at the well as she comes to know Jesus.

  • Why is this man bothering me? He’s a stranger. Can I trust him?
  • He seems to hold out a strange but enticing promise? What is this “water” he promises?
  • Oh, oh. He’s sees inside me. He knows me. He knows who I am and all my weaknesses and sins. …  And still, there is something about him …

And for the rest of your life, there will always be “something about him,” about the one who knows you and still loves you. Jesus still offers a love that will forever quench your thirst for peace, joy and meaning in life.

Deep inside, you want to go into the embrace of your God. You want to overcome sin. You want to live a holy life that will comfort and inspire hope in others.

Today we contemplate three very important things. They are a road map to a good and holy life:

  1. The Lord has given us water from the Rock, the Rock that is Christ. It is Christ who echoes that first Great Commandment: I am the Lord your God. You shall not have other gods before me. What are the idols in your life – power, money, lust, popularity, pride?
  2. St. Paul tells us that our hope is in the glory of God. This hope will not leave us disappointed (Rm 5:1-5). God’s love has been poured out in us through the Holy Spirit. Christ died for us fickle sinners who go and come like the ebb of the tide. Is our hope in God – or in ourselves or some worldly promise? 
  3. Jesus insists that God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and Truth. Are you open to the Holy Spirit? (See Jn 4:24.) Do you ask the Spirit of God for wisdom, courage, understanding and spiritual strength?

So, with the Samaritan woman, let’s yearn with all our hearts for Christ the Lord. Let his Truth become the truth in which we live and in which we die.

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