“Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.” Psalm 25:4-5
The Psalmist is reading our minds today. On the first Sunday of Lent—and the days that follow—we ask God to make the paths of truth and righteousness known to us so that we might become worthy of salvation. That is our Lenten prayer.
But how can we become worthy in the eyes of God? That seems like such a tall order, doesn’t it?
We know the traditions: fasting, Stations of the Cross, daily Mass, and acts of charity that go beyond the usual. Of course, giving up something that we love—a tradition for many of us since childhood—is a form of penance. But Lent is more than that. Beyond the sacrifice, Lent is an opportunity to open up our hearts to God and give witness to the love we have received in baptism.
Actively witnessing God’s love is as rewarding—if not more so—than, say, forgoing tonight’s dessert. Something I experienced during my mission days in the Altiplano of Peru taught me how deeply we can practice our faith when we welcome Christ home. A man in our parish said he was giving up some food from his daily meal that Lent in order to give it to someone he knew who needed it more. The man was poor himself. But in order to prepare for Easter, he was ready to give away the little he had. That’s a sacrifice that showed me how deeply one person can love another.
Friend, before he began his public ministry Jesus fasted for 40 days. He was tempted by the devil but never gave in. Our 40-days of Lent will have its challenges, too, and we will need each other for support and encouragement. That’s what prayer partners are for. So please know I am praying with and for you. May this Lent deepen your faith and mine—and make known the paths of the Lord so that one day we will all be worthy in God’s eyes.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.
February 21, 2021
First Sunday of Lent
Lord Jesus, we begin Lent every year
with the somber reminder that
dust we are, and to dust we shall return.
Having given up so much last year
due to the Covid pandemic
what more can I give to express
my sincere repentance and love
for You, my Savior?
In place of greed, grant generosity;
in place of jealousy, honest admiration;
in place of resentment, humility
and in place of insensitivity, compassion.
Help me, Jesus, to enter the desert of Lent
without the distractions and disillusionments
of everyday life, that I might concentrate
my thoughts, hopes and dreams totally
on doing Your will to the glory of God
and out of love for my brothers and sisters.
Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso