Friday 4th week of Lent
I looked at our Pope at his special Urbi et Orbi blessing for the end to the coronavirus pandemic. There he stood in a dark, rainy and empty St. Peter Square. He was alone and it seemed that he bore the weight of the world on his shoulders.
That image brought me back to Lent, this Lent 2020 which has been so different from any I have ever experienced. I was reminded of Jesus on the cross, alone in darkness bearing all of humanity's sins, my sins, on his shoulders.
Our Holy Father picked up the theme of Christ asleep in the boat during a storm. The disciples ask Him, “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” The Pope said these words would have shaken Jesus, “because He, more than anyone, cares about us.”
I was reminded of the power of love: Christ's love.
“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”
This faith is less of belief in God's existence than it is of total trust in his love. The Holy Father's homily is a message of hope to the City and to the World and is a multi-part study in itself and a link to the full text can be found below. Yes I was reminded of the power of love: Christ's love.
Thursday 5th week of Lent
"What are my idols?” “Where do I hide them?” These are the questions to ask ourselves today, the Pope said, concluding his homily.
“May the Lord not find us at the end of our lives and say to us: ‘You apostasised. You deviated from the way that I marked out. You prostrated yourself before an idol’. We ask the Lord for the grace of recognizing our own idols.”
This was part of the Pope's homily at a Mass this morning. Is it my career, my material possessions, my own self? What are the things I put before God?
Why did we need the coronavirus in order to turn to God? What prevented us from doing so before? If we are honest with and about ourselves we'll be able to answer the Pope's questions.
Wednesday 4th week of Lent
Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.” Lk 1
Tuesday 4th week of Lent
I've been hearing more frequently that this coronavirus pandemic is a punishment from God who is back to smiting because he is fed up.
Monday 4th week of Lent
While most of the people are adhering to the self distancing and self isolation requirements for combating the coronavirus pandemic I am disheartened and disappointed in the significantly large group who decide to ignore it.
I guess we live in an age of instant gratification where I must satisfy my wants, desire, urges NOW without forethought on consequences. If endangering others is a result well, tough luck for them; it's all about me.
In Genesis Cain asked 'am I my brother's keeper'? How tragic that this mentality is embedded in our human nature. Jesus' response was a resounding 'yes' and he was giving his life to show it.
Let's always strive to be good disciples. Stay safe.
Sunday 4th week of Lent
We are halfway through the most unique Lent I've ever experienced. I miss Mass, the celebration of the Eucharist. I miss participating with the body of Christ, the church. This is indeed an experience of the 'wilderness'.
But all is not lost, I read in the book of Hosea 1:16- "Therefore, I will allure her now; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak persuasively to her."
We are drawn into the wilderness not to experience death but to rediscover the tender heart of God and so I quiet myself and listen for his loving and assuring words. It is a chance to fall in love with him again.
..."On that day—oracle of the LORD- You shall call me “My husband,” and you shall never again call me “My baal.” Hosea 1:18
Let this unique Lent be one in which you draw closer to God.
Saturday 3rd week of Lent
"Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Friday 3rd week of Lent
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
How far are we from the Kingdom of God, are we even going in the right direction?
Thursday 3rd week of Lent
“Where does our mercy come from?” asked the Pope. Mercy is not one of many realities, “There is no Christianity without mercy. If all our Christianity does not lead us to mercy, we are on the wrong path, because mercy is the only true goal of every spiritual journey. It is one of the most beautiful fruits of charity.”
Pope Francis reminded the faithful following his catechesis that “God's mercy is our liberation and our happiness”, emphasising, “it is the air that we must breathe”.
We are always prone to judgements in our human nature, easily seeing and proclaiming the faults of others, but not so much our own. Quick to anger and slow in mercy is the human way not God's way.
Perhaps we can use our isolation to make a Lenten reflection on Psalm 103:8, one of many verses that show us the right way, God's way:
'Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger, abounding in mercy.'
Wednesday 3rd week of Lent
Adversity reveals character. I've seen the worse of human nature in response to covid-19: hoarding, fighting, price gouging: symptoms of our selfishness. I've also seen the best of human nature. Quarantined communities rising in songs of hope, providing for the needy, a glimpse of agape love.
Masses have been suspended but Jesus is ever present. Let us show the world Christ's is with us.
“See how they love one another”—this is what the pagans observed, to their own amazement, about the early Christians. Let our light shine!
The Season of Lent is a special time for us to slow down, look inward and make the necessary changes to truly become an Easter people.