A Lenten Tipping Point?

Yesterday was the Third Sunday in Lent. How quickly we pass from Ash Wednesday to the First Sunday in Lent and, well, here we are. The clock does keep ticking.

And it’s not too late to have a holy Lent. Maybe you’ve given up booze or added a decade of the Rosary. Maybe not even that. Regardless, the question is: Are we anywhere closer to Christ? To dying to self? To something radically different than the procedural cultural norms?

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles writes at this potential Lenten tipping-point moment about how to live Lent:

Our Lenten journey is meant to be a symbol for us, a reminder that our lives are a journey to God. A journey that we are making by following Jesus Christ.

The question is always how do we “follow” Jesus — 2,000 years after he walked on this earth?

Sometimes we can look at the world of Jesus and think that the Gospels can’t possibly relate to our modern reality. The world he came into was so radically different than the world we are living in. No freeways. No global economy and finance system. No electricity or running water. No technologies, advertising or media.

And it is true: our world is very different. We live in a complex society and we all lead complicated lives, with many demands and obligations.

Yet still we are called to follow Jesus. So how?

Our faith is not an agreement with a set of principles or theological ideas. Our faith is faith in this person, Jesus Christ.

We meet this person — we come to know him, love him and trust him — in his Catholic Church. And that’s the key to understanding how we should follow him.

Jesus promised that he would remain with us in his Church. No matter how complex the world becomes and no matter how long the world may last, his promise is true.

That means we are never following Jesus alone. We follow him always in the company of others, as his brothers and sisters in God’s family, his Church. No matter where we are in our journey, we have Jesus — in the words of sacred Scripture and in the sacraments of his Church.

That’s why it’s so important for us to have an active participation in the life of the Church. Through our continuing education in the faith, through our service to others, through partaking in the sacraments, we grow in our awareness of Jesus’ presence in our lives.

I was a bit bummed the other day when there wasn’t much of a Confession line I had to wait on. Yes, I had totally planned on an on-site examination of conscience but more so: I was hoping we were all allowing ourselves to drown in God’s mercy as we take up our crosses and follow Him.

But then it is not too late to make the lines longer.


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