Sometimes by our own narration of our lives, the gaps between grace and human ‘gumption’ are revealed. The Word today tells of the “squandering of our inheritance on a life of dissipation”, of the “goodness of the Lord”, of moving or being moved “from death to life”.
As we move from the deaths and dissipations of the pandemic to the mild comfort of an endemic status, it’s fair to reflect on what would give us real comfort.
With what and whom do we need to be reconciled and restored? How may we go about doing this? Is it worth it? Or should we just go full extreme, demand what we think we deserve as our portion and throw caution to the wind?
Have we perhaps become immune to threats and temptations, to balance an appreciation of the goodness of the Lord, appropriate to what our ‘palates’ can process and what’s needed for deliverance and joy?
All these questions may be shared and reflected upon as we enter more deeply into Lenten introspection and prayer with others.
The Synod conversations have been yielding interesting views, not particularly new, but expressed more openly and courageously. Even as we extended our reach into the communities of ‘other Christian believers’, non-Christians, ‘non- believers’ and searchers, some of the feedback confronts Catholics with the truth of our poor witness to being a community of love and life-giving action.
Respondents have said that they “didn’t know dat de Catholic Church does evangelise”, “dat dem people in de church doesn’t tell us wha’ dey doing in de community.”
Surprised? Dat “dem does hold grudges”, dat having visited “de church for funerals, weddings, Christenings”, there is very little evidence that Catholics really pay attention and immerse themselves in preparing for what we say is the source and summit of our faith practice and liturgical lives.
And how are our families faring and regenerating themselves to rebuild purpose-filled relationships with each other, with neighbours (post-distancing), respecting individuals’ needs for quiet time and recreation?
As we try to resume ‘normal’ life patterns, how may we trust again that the air is safe? Machel Montano’s ‘soil’ sojourn will soon reach us for translating cosmic yearnings into practical projects to save our lives and livelihoods. Families—the cells of faith communities, villages, towns, nations and countries can and should be motivated to make strong and wise decisions to share for the common good.
Looking beyond our family spaces to borders and quasi-boundaries beyond our shores, we see and hear much debate and disseminated (mis)information about the agendas of the ‘NATOs’ of politically wilful leaders, strategists for self-interest and the dark stain of racism, even against those who have previously helped to build the dream of productive civilisations.
The ‘new creation’ offered to us in Christ, eschewing the old and reconciling with the promise of what’s trustworthy and righteous is worth embracing. Let us all confess our failings, assured of mercy and redemption for Love and commit to becoming ambassadors for Christ.
As emissaries, we are mandated to carry the message of peace, listening rather than talking all the time, finding common ground.
Lent is our opportunity to ‘become’ righteous again.