“…I press on…, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”
There is a long Lenten tradition that we ‘give up’ some pleasure or indulgence – candy, wine, movies, cake -- to show our desire for repentance, to be made worthy of Easter, and our salvation. But Lent is more than that. Those forty days were for Jesus a time of preparation and empowerment. It was a time to be ever stronger and more steadfast in faith.
In the desert, Jesus confronted his own vulnerable humanity, yet resisted every wicked temptation. He showed us, as the Psalmist wrote, that earthly things are as dust. The word of God, the love of God and each other, are what endures. This life-changing message that Jesus prepared himself to teach, is the lesson we can renew in our own hearts: that the kingdom of God is within, and its foundation is love. Jesus, our Christ, is our example. He was the reason why Paul was able to press on. In his great love for us, Jesus persisted despite frustrating human blindness. He endured in the face of all trials, and encompasses us still with his great love.
Let us treasure the days of Lent as a time for more frequent prayer and meditation. May it bring us to understand ever more deeply how, through faith and love, Christ has made us his own, forever.
The readings for Thursday of Last Epiphany are Psalm 37:1-18; Hab. 3:1-10(11-15)16-18; Phil. 3:12-21; John 17:1-8 and can be found at www.satucket.com/lectionary/2epiphL.htm.