Tuesday of Holy Week, 2023

    April 4, 2023

    Here we are on Tuesday of Holy Week! We can see Lent’s finish line straight ahead, and we look forward to crossing it very soon.

    Today’s reading from Isaiah has all the elements of an impassioned victory speech—perfect for crossing that finish line. The prophet praises God who has not only protected him, but also rewarded and strengthened him, making him “a sharp-edged sword,” a “polished arrow,” and “a light to the nations.”

    Could the same be said of us as we approach the end of these 40 days? Have we surrendered to the Lord and allowed the Lord to prepare and fortify us for the journey beyond this Lenten season?

    For me, the answer is “not so much.”

    I tend to identify more with Judas and Peter in today’s gospel scene. Both men, to different degrees, will disappoint Jesus in the hours before his crucifixion. I know that I, too, have disappointed Jesus this Lent. Although I vowed to pray more during this holy season, I wasn’t always present in heart and mind during those times of prayer. Although I decided to spend less time on my phone, I spent more time binging whatever series was trending on Netflix. In my efforts to get myself in good order during Lent through self-reflection, I may have ignored those around me who are hurting. And, as you well know, there are many people who are hurting right now.

    However, to dwell on “what I’ve failed to do” is an exercise in futility. I’m ready to cross the 2023 Lenten finish line—blisters, bruises, and all—because I know there is another finish line in the distance I will cross when my life on this earth ends. The distance in-between those finish lines is where I can practice being the person God wants me to be: a person who is centered when I pray; a person who uses her time productively in building up the Kingdom of God; a person who shares hope with the hopeless. When I fail, I can always begin again, confident that God who “called me from birth” will look upon me with mercy and grant me the ultimate prize of eternal life as I cross the final finish line.

    Rachel A. Hrbolich is Director of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Youngstown.

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