Homily for 1st Sunday of Lent February 14, 2016
The tradition of lent developed early in the church in a twofold manner, as a forty day fast preparation for Easter and and time of preparing catechumens for baptism. Vatican II focused lent on Baptism and the need for communal conversion. Tied in with that of course is the work of the Spirit, given everyone at baptism and the same Spirit that led Jesus to the desert for his forty day fast. This became a time renew ourselves by once again turning away from sin and the negative attractions of this world. While each of us needs time to meditate and be alone with God. The Spirit leads forward to reach out to a world crying out for God, seeking reason and understanding in a world which leaves so many questions unanswered especially in regard to humanity’s action against itself.
God’s love is in the world, but that love can only be found in those who actively seek to love. Communal conversion calls for the entire community to hear and believe the good news of God’s love and embrace of all. Jesus Christ was a human being, a man who lived like any other. He had thoughts, desires, temptations like any other human. He had likes and dislikes, he loved and was loved as we all are. What set Him apart was the fact that he was divine, having come to bring God’s forgiveness to all humanity and exhibit the love he has for all of His creation. So, Lent is not meant to be a negative, foreboding time, but a period of renewing and seeking out God’s love and sharing it with all our sisters and brothers to follow Jesus. This we can do with a word, or by an act or some kindness given simply because a person needs the help. What we do for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, or someone in need, we do it to Jesus himself. His Spirit is not just confined to those we know and live with, but is present wherever and with whomever the Spirit chooses to be. Not only do we bring Christ to others by our actions, but Christ comes to us through those whom we ourselves touch. So as we begin lent, let us be aware that it is a time of conversion and growth of ourselves and our community.