Forty days of thought, reflection, and prayer, capped off by the astounding mystery of Jesus sacrificing His life to redeem us!
Lent and Easter.
Growing up in the 1950s, this meant giving up chocolate or something meaningful (my mother would recommend – um, er, uh…ORDER) and then after 40 days, wolfing down all the Easter Bunny candy in as short a time as possible.
As I have grown older I have come to see my life as someone who is like a serious recreational runner. You run everyday: rain, snow, sleet, hail (life)! This season of Lent is a preparation that is more like getting in shape for an event, like training for a marathon, with one exceptional difference. Running a marathon requires preparation; then, during the actual event, exhausting oneself; and then, finished, collapsing and enjoying the event afterwards. Lent is the training period, yet Easter is the life that keeps on giving. No exhaustion on the day! No feeling of contentment and reflecting back, but a feeling of contentment and looking forward. Easter is the joyful awakening of redemption and renewal, a clear view of the present and future.
I like to think of life as a Charlie Brown cartoon. Good things happen, bad things happen, good choices are made, bad choices are made. Events that seem catastrophic leach pain as time goes on.
I see Lent and Easter differently now that I am older. I see them more as a noted period in our time when special emphasis is put on what our average, daily life is absorbed in. The rest of the year, we try and continue on in a healthy, loving way of living.
I hope that we are a Christian community that is spreading the joy of Jesus through our living-out of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Whether it be visiting senior centers or Alzheimer Care facilities, prisons or hospitals, or collecting and donating food or clothing for the poor, the joy with which we share our lives is all a part of what Jesus wants from us.
Especially in these days, civility, gentleness, kindness and love cry out for our answer to them. With one current political view on refugees and immigrants so arrogantly screaming for exclusion, we must not be silent. Jesus is pretty clear in teaching us to stand up for those in need of help. Let’s say “YES!” to love, inclusion and forgiveness, especially in this upcoming season of joyful hope in the Resurrection of Jesus.
And enjoy the candy!
Deacon Pat Kane
St. Francis of Assisi ANCC (Glen Ridge, NJ)