Joel 2:12-18; PS 51 Be merciful O Lord for we have sinned; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matt 6:1-6,16-18
It is that time of year again. Spring cleaning for the soul. Or if you prefer the spiritual Olympics has begun and today is the opening ceremony. Though we do not have a dance routine or even a theme song to boot; we do not have a torch being carried to light an emblematic fire for the nations; we just have a simple splash of ash upon the forehead to kick start the season of discipline, a season of training in true love.
Prayer, fasting, and giving will be the events in which we compete that we might deepen our love for God, love for neighbor, and our detachment of self.
The keynote address revolves around two statements we shall hear over and over again: remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return and Repent and believe in the gospel.
Both are important if we are to understand the 40 days of Lent.
Remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return. Time is running out. Don't waste it. We are called to examine our life and see where we are headed. Many would suggest that since we do not have much time then we should make the most of it by doing whatever we want. Well, that would be a waste.
Remembering we are dust reminds us that we are dust alive in the hands of God. We have our existence from another and it is only in the other that we shall find ultimate fulfillment and true value.
This is why the second statement is valuable: repent and believe in the gospel.
Repent that is it is time for a change, a change in direction. The gospel now becomes a true compass of orientation. The good news helps us get our bearings straight and thus realigns us with true greatness, a greatness we are created for, written in our very existence.
Pope Benedict reminded us some years ago that the world will promise us comfort, but we are not made for comfort we are made for greatness.
The season of Lent has arrived in the nick of time to call out to us that reality once again that we are made for greatness and through prayer, fasting, and giving we can discover the greatness written into our existence by the maker's hand and let it out for the benefit of the world.
It is time to get our head, heart, and soul in the game.
"we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us…that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ…do not receive the grace of God in vain." 2 corinthians 5
The grace of the season has arrived. The invitation is laid at our feet. The ash has been splashed upon our forehead. Let the world experience true greatness: pray, fast, give.
Let the games begin.