Reflections - Feb. 22, 2015

“Repent, and believe in the gospel”  Mk 1:15.
We began on Ash Wednesday the Liturgical Season of Lent.  During this time our Catechumens begin their final stage of preparation for Baptism.  But it is also a time when the Church invites us to renew ourselves spiritually to celebrate the mystery of our redemption, the Passover of the Lord Jesus, His passion, death, and resurrection.
How can we renew ourselves spiritually?
It is a time of retreat.  It is a time of penance and prayer.  The Church invites us to abstain from eating meat on the Fridays of Lent.  How can I interpret this practice in a world where there are millions of our brothers and sisters who live in absolute poverty and for which this standard would be a joke in bad taste.  And then there are those where this is a time to eat lobster and shrimp…..
It has never been the sense of the Church for us to only change the menu.
The invitation of the Church is for us to abstain from the things that we like and to share them with the most needy.  It is to be in solidarity with the poor.  We sometimes find families that do not have enough money to buy food.  Help them.  There are elderly people who do not have enough money in their retirement to buy their medicines…..
But it is also a time of prayer.  The Gospel tells us that the Spirit led Jesus into the desert and there he lived his experience of prayer, but he was also tempted just like you and me.  Remember that Jesus was human and divine.  Human because he shared in all our human conditions, except sin, and divine because He was the Son of God.
Jesus gives us an example of spiritual life because through prayer He discovers God’s plan and that mission is not exempt of temptations.
Let us pray to the Lord in this Lenten season to make us more conscious of the true meaning of almsgiving, fasting and prayer, dying in you, Lord, and through You false attachments, greed, anger, impatience, meanness and above all a life sometimes full of superficialities and of self-centeredness where I am only concerned for myself, my reputation, my prestige, and my power.
I beg you, Lord, that you make us conscious that to rejoice in Your resurrection we have to die to sin, we must practice charity where it hurts, we have to fast from many “foods” that dehumanize us, and we have to pray even when we are afraid to face You and confront ourselves even when it may seem that nothing is happening in our lives.  Allow us, Lord, to see You in the light of Your mercy and to convert us, this Lent, into the mirror of Your love.