Deacon’s Beacon: Lenten Rewards, Or “What’s in it for Me?”
A good message for all of us as we set our goals and objectives is to remember that “There is no point of doing well that which should not be done at all.” So we should ask ourselves, “What’s the most important accomplishment that we would like to achieve this Lent?”
We may start out by mentioning things or actions that we would like to avoid; or improvements in our life that we would like to make.
All of these are good thoughts but I would offer that the main purpose of Lent is to improve our relationship with God – to make permanent changes that will result in a closer bonding with God.
As always, we look to our Sunday readings to help us set our goal. Last Sunday, Jesus takes Peter, James and John up the mountain and He is transfigured and His full glory is revealed to the three of them; and from a cloud they hear a voice saying “This is my beloved Son, Listen to Him.”
Jesus is transfigured – and we are called to be transformed into what God calls us to be. But what is that? We get an insight in last Sunday’s First Reading. God tells Abraham to take his son and prepare to offer him as a sacrifice to God.
Abraham is ready to do that – but is stopped by God’s messenger. Abraham is totally trusting in God and is prepared to do whatever He asks. In the Second Reading St. Paul says “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Excellent words for us to remember. The main message is the need for us to be in communion with God. Abraham and St. Paul are – and Jesus is perfectly in communion with the Father. We also need to be in communion with God. Lent gives us the opportunity to focus on that relationship and how we can improve the bond.
We do not know what challenges we’ll face as we continue our life journey, but if we show our total trust in (our communion with) God, we will be able to deal with whatever comes.
What is the sure reward which Jesus points out to his disciples? It’s union with God our Father. In Him alone we find the fullness of life and happiness, truth and beauty, love and joy.
Today as we continue our Lenten journey our readings focus on the guidance that God gives us to continue towards a closer union with Him. In the First Reading God reaffirms His Covenant with us through the Ten Commandments that help us keep our focus on our goal.
In the Second Reading, St. Paul points out the foolishness of relying solely on human values (“Jews demand signs, Greeks look for wisdom”) as he points out the need to rely on God. The gospel is the familiar story of Jesus overturning the money changers’ tables. The message in these readings is reminding us of our need to keep our focus on Jesus.
The Main Message
We tend to look at Lent as a time to worship and give glory to God. That certainly is a part of it – however the main focus of Lent is to help us see more clearly our path to God.
If our Lenten journey helps us to transform our life into a closer union with God and all people, we will discover that we have developed a much closer relationship with God, with our life – and with our fellow human beings.
Then we’ll discover that “What’s in it for me” is this Communion with God and our trust in where He leads us. In God alone do we find the fullness of life and happiness, truth and beauty, love and joy.
Wishing you a blessed and joyful Lenten journey
Deacon Tom Corcoran
“You are the light of the world. Do not light a lamp then put it under a bushel basket…. your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:5-16
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