Joel 2: 12-18
During the last few weeks as I began reflecting on the Lenten Season and what my own Lenten Journey might have in store for me, I was reminded that Lent offers us all a very special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to deepen our commitment to a way of life, rooted in our baptism. In our busy world, Lent provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the patterns of our own lives, to pray more deeply, experience sorrow for what we’ve done and failed to do, and to be more generous to those in need.
We have a powerful set of readings about Prayer, Repentance, Almsgiving and Fasting during this upcoming liturgical season. We place ashes on our foreheads and learn about the meaning of death and life. We pray over the powerful challenge of True Fasting in Isaiah 58. And Jesus reminds us that he is inviting us to a “change of heart” in the beautiful words from the prophet Joel and in Psalm 51 that was read today at mass.
Lent is truly God’s Invitation to Us. An invitation to enter into the Desert with Jesus and spend these next forty days with him in the desert discerning exactly who we are as God’s Beloved and what that truly calls forth from us as a disciple of Christ. I love that Valentine’s Day falls the day after Ash Wednesday this year. What a great reminder of how much God loves us!
The desert has such symbolism in scripture…..Old Testament wandering in the desert for 40 years and then in the New Testament of Jesus being led by the Holy Spirit into the desert for 40 days. Some scholars believe that Jesus was led into the desert to really come to a deeper awareness of what it means to be God’s Beloved after the wonderful revelation that we know occurred in the gospels in his baptism where the voice from heaven spoke….This is my Son, the Beloved, my favor rests upon him.
As I began praying and asking for guidance about my Lenten Journey, I was reminded of a wonderful homily given several years ago by one of my favorite pastors about Lent. He told the congregation, “Don’t give up the chocolates, favorite food or alcohol; if eating or drinking them means you will be more loving and kind to your neighbor.” His message still lingers in my soul as a reminder that Lent is truly a season of being invited by God in a deeply personal way to allow Him to transform my heart. We hear in today’s first reading from the prophet Joel, “Come back to me, with all of your heart.” Since that homily, Lent is not so much about giving up something, but about making space for God.
Are you ready to enter the barren desert with Jesus and not be afraid of what God might reveal to you? Why or why not?
Yes, of course we all want to have a deeper relationship with God. However, somehow we allow the world to lure us away. But Our Loving God does not give up on us. He calls to us again: “Come back to me, with all of your heart”. Joel 2: 12
Questions to Ponder as we begin our Lenten Journey:
- Are you ready to turn to God with all of your heart? If not, what holds you back? Joel 2: 12-18
- Are you ready to beg that God create in you a clean heart and renew your spirit? Psalm 51
- Are you able to enter the barren desert with Jesus experiencing the joyful anticipation that His resurrection holds out for each of us? Psalm 51
- How might you make space in your life to listen and be obedient to the tiny small voice of God?
- What might you give up or commit to at this time to be more Christ-like and grow in holiness?
Please let me hear from you in the comments………………
“Taken from the The Hopeless Romantic: Falling in Love with God site of Patti Clement. www.patticlement.wordpress.com Used with Permission.”