That’s not fair! I am sure every parent has heard this cry coming from their son or daughter. Probably a lot more than once too. There is deep within most of us a desire for fairness. This is especially true I think when we focus on ways we might be treated unfairly. And yet treating people fairly and being treated fairly are not always easy things to do. Sometimes I find that when I think things are not fair, I am not always right.
Do you know how to pray? More and more over the last couple of years I have focused more on this notion of providing concrete ways to help with knowing how to pray. Today’s gospel provides a good outline for prayer. Ask. Seek. Knock.
And so the prayer we read in today’s first reading is Esther’s deep cry for help from God in this difficult dilemma she finds herself. Her prayer teaches us so many important lessons about our prayer. Let’s take a look at these one at a time.
Seeing is believing. Missouri is the show me state. I will not believe until I put my hands in the nail marks. Prove it. How often are we skeptics? Of course, we live in a world where it can be easy to get taken, and sometimes our skepticism is well-placed. The world around us is filled with people who do not have our best interest at heart, but theirs, so they do not hesitate to defraud us. And this has been going on for a long time, well, since the serpent tricked Adam and Eve.
Words. Words. Words. There are more way to read, speak and hear words than ever before. But there is really only one word that matters. He it The Word, our Lord Jesus Christ.
There has been a lot of attention over the last four years concerning the power of words. There has been the rise of the expression “fake news” and perhaps more attention than ever paid not only to what people say, but also what we think they mean. We seem to be more likely to get our information from a particular source, and to trust this source over another. And it can feel at times that we live in parallel worlds where we do not all experience the same things.
Who do you say that I am? This is the central question of a disciple of Jesus. In fact, if we stay with this question it can serve as a good examination of conscience during this season of Lent. Just who is Jesus? What do I say about him? What do I believe about him? How does my life change because of what I believe about him?
Lent is a time where the focus is on prayer, fasting and almsgiving. But in another way, it is about recognizing our faith life and the completion of the sacraments of initiation. Bringing baptism to mind is a key focus for all three readings for Mass today.
When you are sick, sometimes you need to get a prescription. My years working at the local drug store where I grew up taught me many lessons that I only appreciated as an adult. Lent can be like a trip to the drug store. Our prescription? Removing oppression, false accusation and malicious speech, bestowing bread on the hungry, and satisfying the afflicted. Now is the time to make Lent real.
For most of my life, I have not had to care much about what I eat. My metabolism was pretty fast, and so I did not gain any weight. Moreover, my life was active, and so I tended by burn calories. I know that when some people watched me eat, they resented that I could eat so much and gain so little. All of that changed when I turned 50. Suddenly I had to pay attention to my diet. My metabolism slowed and my gut grew. It was a moment when I had to make a decision.