Now that we are in the second week of Lent, the readings and the liturgies will increasingly focus on the suffering and death of Jesus. Those who are seeking to understand Christianity ask the question from time to time: “How could one say that if Jesus is God, He would choose to die on the cross?” The cross is the immovable, the unavoidable center of
Christianity. That Jesus chose to go to Jerusalem and willingly submit Himself to unimaginable suffering and death is perplexing.
Saint Paul once wrote, “The cross is an absurdity for the Gentiles and a stumbling block for the Jews”. Indeed. And what is the cross for you and me? Maybe it is too simplistic, but given that Jesus is “true God and true man”, I think we can reduce it to two possibilities. Either Jesus was deranged – somehow out of His mind or it was an act of immeasurable love.
I believe it to be the latter.
For love, God the Father sent His only Son into the world and for love; this Jesus walked among us eventually to Jerusalem and suffered the death of a prophet. This love is for you and for me. It is a love that is complex, and a number of years ago, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about it in his Lenten message to the world. He said that this love is both agape and eros. God’s love for us both wishes to serve us and wishes to be in union with us.
This Lenten journey that we are on might be said to be a journey to learn more deeply about love. To wonder about God’s love for me, made manifest in countless ways and to wonder about how well I reflect this love in my daily life. For in whatever form, authentic love is always a gift. It is never anything that I can create by my own doing. It is a gift to be received and a gift to be given away. The entire dynamic is at its very core, spiritual, although love expresses itself in so many beautiful ways.
Together, as one community of faith, may these weeks leading up to the holiest of weeks, be a time to wonder, to reflect deeply on this meaning of love. Surely doing so will bring us to the Easter mystery more completely human and filled with hope.
Second Sunday of Lent – March 12/13, 2022
In today’s second reading we learn that one of Saint Paul’s principles of Christian living is to watch and imitate other followers of Christ.
There is a pattern for Christian living that Saint Paul wants others to discover and then imitate.
This pattern includes a life of prayer, selflessness, sacrifice, and caring for others, including our family of faith.
Good stewards choose their friends wisely.
They cultivate friendships with other Christian stewards, spend time with them, observe how they live, ask questions about their faith and learn from them.
Who are your friends? Are they good stewards of their faith?
Are they those who can help you on your own journey of faith?