Saturday, February 21, 2015

At Hand

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

God said: This is the sign of the covenant that I am making between me and you and every living creature with you for all ages to come:  I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and every living creature—every mortal being—so that the waters will never again become a flood to destroy every mortal being.  Genesis 9:12-15

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel.”  Mark 1:14-15

Our ministry takes many forms as we put on the mind and the heart of Christ.  Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.  Christ goes into the desert for forty days and nights.   We know he fasted and at the end of forty days was tempted by the Spirit.  We have our Lent of forty days and we try to fast as best we can.  Lent is our time to get ready for our share in the passion of Christ.  What we decide to do for Lent prepares us for the Resurrection.  Prayer and fasting are the major weapons of the spiritual life.

We reflect on what we have done in past Lents.  We talk to our spiritual director and our spiritual friends and make a plan on how we are going to deepen our spiritual life.  Christ died for sinners.  Sacrifices for others make our fasting and good works into something positive for the Lord.  Selfishness is how I use the gift of life for myself.  Selflessness makes Lent into something positive for the Lord. Even as God has given us the fit of life, he has challenged us by the example of his Son to do good for others.  Doing something positive for others in their needs make something positive out of the sacrifices we can do for each other.

For each complaint about another and how our world is going to hell, I will try to change what I might have said that would have been poor mouthing the efforts of another.  I will try to encourage rather than discourage.  I will try to be a helping hand even when it delays me and what I need to do.  I will say something positive about the others and my world.  I will try to build up my world by positive actions and encouragement.  I will go without something that is a luxury in my life for the sake of all those who cannot find the essentials for life.  Each day I will pass up rather than pass down my stomach the desserts that pleasure my life.  For the sake of bringing pleasure to the people I serve, I will try to feel hunger at one of the meals of each day.  I will try to leave the meal still hungry for all those who do not have the possibility of eating what they need to survive.  In short, I will work to make my Lent something positive I do for others for the sake of Christ and a better world.

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