Scriptural Readings: Joel 2: 12-18; Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14+17; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
My dear encountered couples:
Lent has begun! Once again the Church reminds us that this land is not our permanent home. We are a pilgrim people, a people on a long journey, one filled not only with refreshing joys, but containing many sorrows and struggles. Everyday strong resolve and renewed energy is required not merely to survive but so that we may reach the fulfillment of dreams - ours and God’s.
“I have a dream” is not only something one person experiences, but a reality of each and every human being. You have dreams you want to see fulfilled. So do I. And so does God. Basically, those dreams are the same - the attainment of HAPPINESS!
This season of Lent is an attempt to help us to obtain that happiness. It is a season during which we are given a reminder that we must take time out from life’s many demands and activities to get a better view of ourselves and where we are headed. Are we really living in such a way that we will reach the attainment of happiness? Or have we become confused and gotten ourselves into a way of life that is nothing more than a detour, leading us far from where we really want to go?
The only sensible thing is to find out. For just as we have to stop the car occasionally when we are travelling and take another look at the map, the same must be done at frequent intervals during our journey through life on earth.
God has a dream. His dream concerns you. He dreams of nothing but the best for you. He wants you to have all there is. That “all” is Himself. He wants you to receive Him, accept Him, be united to Him. In doing so, you will be attainting not only His dream. You will be attaining yours. Without Him your dream can never become a reality. Lent is to remind you of this.
The blessed ashes to be placed on your forehead in just a little while are a reminder of your lifetime here passing away. Someday you will die. Your body will return to dust from which it came. Your spirit will go into eternity and be united with a new body. You will live forever, happily or not, with God or without him. The choice is yours. Now is the season for you to renew yourself in that choice, or to make your choice consciously for the first time in your life.
There are probably many things you need to do, many things we all need to do to get on the right path of life. One practical little suggestion is found at the beginning of today’s gospel. “Be on guard against performing religious acts for people to see. Otherwise expect no recompense from your heavenly Father.”
We all like to be praised for our goodness. During this Lent, each day, do something nice for someone. Do not let that person know it is you who have done it. Tell no one else either - ever. Then, forget what you did. Don’t keep a mental record. Those selfless acts of love will improve you, enrich your life, and unite you with God who is constantly doing acts of love for you. Make this Lent really worthwhile. It could be your last.