At last week’s Ash Wednesday liturgy, the celebrant proposed a different approach to Lent which caught my attention.
He spoke of Lent as a season of humility during which we can re-examine our relationships with our loving God and one another. “Who knows where we will be on Easter Sunday?” he said with a smile. Hopefully, he concluded, our love and relationship with God will be evident by the way we treat and care for one another.
While none of this might seem earth shattering or new, his description of Lent challenges us to bring the love we celebrate on Sundays to our homes, our work colleagues, and the people we serve.
Think of your relationships. Can you recall times when you weren’t the best spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, friend, co-worker or minister of charity? Did you try to resolve it? How? Lent’s scripture readings can help. Here are a few that speak directly to our relationships with God and people around us:
Friday after Ash Wednesday
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry… Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am! (Isaiah 58:6-7, 9)
Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth… For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call upon you. (Psalm 86:5-6)
Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of another. [And] be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. (Ephesians 4:25, 32)
Many blessings this Lenten Season!
Robert Colbert, D.Min, BCC is Chaplain at George Washington University Hospital who formerly served with Catholic Charities USA.