|Crucifix: Holy Family Parish, Concord|
I invite you to turn your gaze to the crucifix that hangs over our prayer.
It’s a good thing, on this first day of Lent, to look upon JESUS
-- because Jesus is what Lent is all about.
My relationship with Jesus, your relationship with Jesus,
our relationship with this man who gave his life for us,
who suffered and died for us – this is what Lent is all about.
Lent is a time to reconnect with Jesus, the God-man
who lived 2,000 years ago, grew up in a small town,
who preached his Father’s word,
who came that we might have life and have it to the full.
Lent is about Jesus and my relationship with him.
So this day we begin a season
of growing closer to Christ,
closer than we’ve been before.
Perhaps we’ve drifted away from him,
perhaps our relationship with him is on-again, off-again,
perhaps we need to renew
what was once a strong relationship with him.
Or perhaps this Lent will be the very first time
we’ll begin to have a personal relationship with Christ.
And we’ll do that through prayer, fasting and almsgiving,
caring for those in need.
Obviously, prayer is a good way to grow closer to Jesus
because it’s talking to him, conversing with him:
placing ourselves in his presence,
pouring out our hearts to him,
waiting and hoping to hear a word from him.
Prayer is a way to grow closer to Christ.
And fasting. Fasting is a way to come to Jesus
if by fasting we mean we empty ourselves
of other things that fill us up too much,
of things we depend on that don’t deserve our dependence.
We empty ourselves of desires that have no healthy purpose
to make room in our hearts for Jesus to make his home there.
And caring for the poor –reaching out to those in need.
That might be a monetary gift to a charity -- and that’s very good.
But it’s also looking around our own homes and families,
and where we work, and where we go to school,
in our neighborhoods and in our parish
and seeking out those who are in need of:
a friend, a word, some company, some consolation or help,
serving the needs of those who are right by our side all the time.
Our prayer, fasting and caring for those in need will all have value
if each of them draws us closer to Christ.
If our Lenten practices draw us only to a sense of self-satisfaction,
then they will have failed miserably.
We pray -- to grow closer to Jesus.
We give up things – to make more room for Jesus in our lives.
We reach out to those in need – to find Jesus
in the lives of those around us and around the world,
wherever people are in need of what we have in abundance.
May this holy season begun with the mark of ashes,
a sign of how fragile is our existence,
that we are dust – and to dust we shall return,
may this season draw us closer to Christ
who wants to draw closer to each of us.
Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments