What kind of Lent have you had? The purpose of Lent is this: that the whole Church, all over the world, take a good hard look at how we have missed the mark as disciples of the Crucified and Risen Lord. It’s a six week investment of our minds and bodies in a soul-searching look at what the Lord is calling us to undergo as a conversion of heart.
A conversion of heart is the goal of Lent. How may be cooperate better with the grace of our Savior to be more Christ-like.
For me this Lent has meant a reinterpretation of what it means to be Christ-like. It does not mean being nice, or politically correct, or not upsetting people, though that is what many people reduce “being Christian” to. Jesus said, “Even the pagans are nice to those who are nice to them. What credit is there to that?”
Let’s look at some stark realities that may make us realize that being nice is not enough if we are to be true disciples of Christ.
Let’s start with imagining the world as a village of 100 people. In this global village of 100 people, the richest person in the village has as much as the poorest 57 people taken together.
50 of the 100 are hungry some or all of the time; and 30 of the 100 suffer malnutrition.
40 do not have access to adequate sanitation. 18 are unable to read; and 15 do not have access to clean drinking water.
But the world spends as much on fragrances as all of Africa and the
No, being nice is not what being a follower of Jesus is all about.
You see the world’s disorder originates in the disorder within every human heart. The terrain of the human heart is a mystery with unlimited capacity for good or for evil. And in a time when people call evil good, and good evil, there is an even greater complexity for the human heart to find its way in a very hostile world. In other words, all the disorders in the world begin with the disorders of each human heart. That is where destructive choices flow in such a way as to unravel relationships.
On Ash Wednesday we heard the prophet Joel cry out: Proclaim a fast; gather the people, notify the congregation. Before the altar… let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep and say, “Spare, O Lord, your people. Make not your heritage a reproach. Why should people say, ‘Where is their God?’”
By our Lenten acts of penitence, the Lord is stirred with concern for His Body, the Church, and He takes pity on us.
So, let us each and every one close out Lent, which end this evening, and ask the Lord to show us the disorder in our own lives so that we may acknowledge it and be part of His solution to the problem of evil. The solution is His Passion and Death. Though He faced continual disorder outside of Himself, He never became disordered in His responding to the evil He faced – even to accepting death, death on a cross. This refusal to cooperate with evil, or to become disordered in the face of disorder, is a grace and is what saves us and sets for us a pattern of how we may live as disciples of Christ.
We know that what happens in the heart of every human being eventually makes its way into the vast scheme of how society becomes disordered. Let us now confess together to the Lord, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, how we have allowed disorder to enter into our lives. And the Lord will indeed take pity on His people.
And now, let us get ready for the Triduum, the three most holy days of our liturgical calendar.