Although it seems like Christmas was just a short time ago, this Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.
For many of us, the months of January and February are not ones which we would associate with light. It is only now in late February that we can see daylight last a little bit longer. It’s almost as if the liturgy senses what we are feeling because the Sunday scripture readings at Mass have focused on light seven times since Christmas.
So what do we make of all of this? The imagery of our call to be light is not new to us, but perhaps a call to be light in the season of Lent is.
For many of us Lent has been associated with “giving up” something for a period of 40 days. The challenge of giving something for 40 days is not too demanding especially if we intend to go back to it at Easter. While there may be value in this practice, could we not change our focus and see Lent as a time to do something as opposed to a time of not doing something?
The first reading from Isaiah (42:6-7) on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (January 12) said, “I formed you and set you as a covenant of the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring our prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon those who live in darkness.”
In a figurative sense, in what ways are we blind, imprisoned, or living in darkness?
In what ways do people in our lives experience figurative blindness, imprisonment, or darkness?
In the spirit of the Sunday scripture readings since Christmas, could we not attempt to be light for others in our lives and make an equal attempt to let other people be light for us especially in the challenges we encounter in our daily lives?
Perhaps being light for others and letting others be light for us will be a little more demanding than giving something up for 40 days, but hopefully the end-result will be a renewed sense of faith in ourselves, in others, and in our relationship with God. It’s certainly worth a try.
This Monday Minute is from Br. Hank Hammer, FMS