Thursday, February 18, 2021


Thursday after Ash Wednesday

 (Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Luke 9:22-25)

 Lenten mass readings do not follow any sequence.  We do not read consecutive passages from any Old Testament, New Testament, or gospel book.  No, the Church selects readings from diverse sources to help us make the most of this fruitful season.  Today, still at Lent’s beginning, the readings indicate a proposal for this time of penance.  Like the Israelites ready to enter the Promised Land, we are challenged to reform our ways.  

The gospel passage adds necessary perspective.  We are to take up our daily cross and to follow Jesus.  He will lead us on the way of discipleship.  It is a course of self-sacrifice for God’s sake.  We let go of our claim to time and energy for the sake of others with more urgent claims.  In short, we sacrifice ourselves to help the needy live with dignity.  Jesus leads us not only by modeling the concern we are to give but also by praying to God for help.

We may think that the Lenten experience ends with the celebration of Easter in six weeks.  But this is not the case.  The sacrifices which we took up anew yesterday only end with our own death and entrance into eternal life.  We might ease off on some of the laid practices that we have just assumed.  But the cross which we have taken up – our commitment to living like Jesus – is not to be laid down soon.  We bear it until we too reach the Promised Land.