“Brothers and sisters: So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” -2 Corinthians 5:20
What is the purpose of Lent? As we begin the Lenten season of 2020, it’s a very important question we all must ask ourselves. The first answer that might have come to you was probably something along the lines of “Lent is a season of repentance and reconciliation, with the goal of deepening our personal relationship with Christ.” While this answer is entirely true, the first line in today’s second reading suggests that we can dig even deeper into the meaning and purpose of Lent. In 2 Corinthians 5:20, Paul is reminding us that we are “ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us.” For those who aren’t quite sure what an ambassador is, the terms comes from a word that means meaning servant or minister.”
When I hear the word ambassador, I think of what it means to be a CBC ambassador. A CBC ambassador is given the duty of best representing CBC as an institution and everything it has to offer, to the general public, with the goal of drawing people (mostly potential students) into the CBC community. Although there is a specific program dedicated to CBC ambassadors, I think it is fair to say that simply by being part of the community, each and every member is given the implied duty of being a CBC ambassador to some degree.
It is the same for each and every member of the body of Christ, in the sense that each and every member is called to be an “ambassador for Christ.” We are all called to model the Christian life by loving our neighbors as Christ would, and through that love bring them into relationship, or deeper relationship with Christ. The Catechism of Catholic Churches elaborates on this beautifully saying “those who with God’s help have welcomed Christ’s call and freely responded to it are urged on by love of Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world. This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors. All Christ’s faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer.”
What does being an ambassador have to do with Lent?” Well, it is said that “you cannot give what you do not have.” In regards to the spiritual life, you cannot lead people closer to Christ if you are not close to Christ yourself. In order to be an effective ambassador of Christ, we must have a deep relationship with Christ ourselves. The season of Lent is a liturgical season dedicated to growing closer to Christ through fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. We should give our best efforts to grow closer to Christ not only for our own sake, but also for the sake of bringing others closer to Christ. The conversion of others’ hearts is dependent upon the continual conversion of our own in a very real way. God has given us the gift of participation in salvation history, and God is counting on us to bring others into relationship with him. So, one of the most important questions we must ask ourselves this lent is, “who in my life, am I going to grow closer to Christ for this Lent?”
Music: Kathrin by Sascha Ende