In today’s readings we see parallels drawn between Noah’s 40 days and 40 nights “at sea” and Jesus 40 days and nights in the desert.
As humans, we so wish to travel the path of least resistance. We want for everything to come easily for us. We wonder what we’ve done wrong when things are difficult. The truth is that the path of least resistance is not good for our souls. Trials, temptations, difficulties and suffering are necessary to make us more Christ-like – more ready to be in God’s presence for all eternity. Suffering brings us closer to God – closer to Christ crucified.
We await with joy the preparations of advent – it is such an electric, awe-filled time of year. Do we look with the same anticipation the lenten journey? I know that I don’t. I don’t like to look at my sin in the face and admit my need for repentance. Repentance is uncomfortable. Looking at my failings is uncomfortable. Meditating upon the cross, I am painfully aware that it was my sin – my selfishness – that put Jesus there.
During lent, we are called to take a deeper look at our lives. We are called to enter the desert with Jesus -to strip away our crutches, our pride, our vanities – to stand bare before the Lord. In order to truly rejoice in the resurrection of Christ and our salvation, we must do the hard work. We are called to reform our lives based upon God’s laws instead of conforming to the ideals and wiles of this world.
One of the major problems in our world today is that sin is not called sin anymore. Everything is labeled “o.k.” as long as it is not hurting anyone. That is the biggest load of bologna!
God never changes – He was, is and always will be God – Truth. We do not reform our lives by trying to change God. He doesn’t need to bend to the modern world. The world needs to bend toward Him. This thought reminds me of Michelangelo’s “Creation” on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel – how God is reaching out to mankind (Adam) earnestly, and Adam is reaching toward God half-heartedly. Adam’s body language speaks volumes! It speaks so sadly of human nature, does it not?
The good news, however, is the very real hope that we can hold onto. This is the hope that Noah had when he boarded the ark – the hope that Jesus knew when the Spirit called Him into the desert – the hope of the resurrection Jesus knew before being nailed to the cross.
As we begin this lenten journey, let us really as for the grace to “do the work” of reform, repentance and penance. Let us ask God what He would like to change or perfect in us, then give Him the permission to do whatever He deems necessary for the good of our souls.
He made us. He loves us completely. He can be trusted. He will not leave us alone. When leading us into our own desert times, He travels with us, and in us. Be not afraid!