Lenten Reflections on Love – Week I
For some of us, these are upsetting and unsettling times. We may be aware that our feelings and daily activities are colored by a pervasive sense of foreboding.
In this malaise, our first impulse is to do something— anything. We suggest taking a deep breath and inviting God (in the person of Jesus) to be with us and from that relationship discern our next steps. In the First Letter of John, we are told that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Is it possible that abiding in God’s love, and coming to know better the person of Jesus, we could be helped with our pain and learn to walk more closely with the individuals who are most vulnerable in our world? For some, that may seem on the surface to be a superficial and inadequate response.
Lent is a time for almsgiving, fasting and prayer. It is also a time when we remember God’s great love for us in the person of Jesus Christ. This Lenten season, we invite you to explore with us, “God is love” and how God invites each of us to love. St. Paul writes in his First Letter to the Corinthians:
Love is patient, love is kind;
love is not jealous or boastful,
it is not arrogant or rude.
Love does not insist on its own way,
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrong,
but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
We are not suggesting an exploration of a saccharine kind of love. Rather, a love that “believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). This is the love God has for each of us. This is the love Jesus expressed in his public ministry, on the road to Calvary and as he hung on the cross. We know that Jesus showed us how to love in a very chaotic time. The land where Jesus walked, taught, healed and preached was in many ways as it still is today. Jesus saw the most vulnerable in society abused and marginalized. In the midst of the Roman occupation, Jesus joined in the people’s struggles and invited them to turn to him: “all you who are weary and find life burdensome, come to me.” (Matthew 11:28)
Jesus was patient and forgiving even when the Roman soldiers were torturing him. He never retaliated. His consciousness was focused on his Abba, and he stayed connected to the love he grew up with from his parents, Mary and Joseph. Jesus never lost sight of his own goodness nor the goodness of those who crucified him. Jesus taught us how to love.
We invite you to spend time this Lent with Jesus. By coming to know him more intimately, we can love him more deeply and desire to be more like him in our daily lives. With and through a more intimate relationship with Christ, we can discern how to bring his truth and love into our broken and suffering world.
As we journey through Lent we will explore descriptions of love with Pope Francis’ special insight from his apostolic letter, “The Joy of Love” (Amoris Laetitia). Our hope is that each week we will have a deeper experience of how Jesus loves, so that we can grow in loving as God loves.
Let us pray this week as Lent begins for all the refugees and migrants throughout the world who are struggling. May the ashes on our brow be our sign of solidarity with them.
-Written by parishioner Roger Sullivan
Next - Week II
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