With the arrival of the Lenten season, it might be time to consider what about ourselves we can renew, remodel, or somehow improve upon in our preparation for Easter. The first requirement for such a task is honesty. Just as Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:31-46 that the Son of Man will separate the sheep from the goats—those who follow the way of love versus those who do not—we need to take an honest look at what in our lives needs to be discarded.
Rationalization and bouts of laziness can cause us to be content with easy selfish responses to the gospel challenge to love God and one another. “Let someone else, with more time and resources, take care of the needy.” “Why should I forgive him; he will just do it again?” “He should get a job and not be so dependent.” “I’m too sleepy tonight to say any prayers; I will say extra ones tomorrow.” Really?
Spring is a good time for renovations. A reasonable amount of detachment from worldly cares can help us focus on our quest of a holier spiritual life. We can carefully select which doors that lead to distractions we can close, or at least shut partially. It is true that we live in a material world, with responsibilities and expectations. It is also true that the Lord guides us. The psalm verses in today’s liturgy tell us,
(T)he precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure,
the ordinances of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether. (Psalm 19:8-9)