It’s finally April and that means two things. First (hopefully), Spring is really here! Second, Lent both continues and ends this month.
As Lent continues, let’s remember that no matter how it’s gone so far, whether we’ve really nailed our Lenten commitments like All-stars or felt like amateurs playing way out of our league, God never has a bad day. He never fluctuates in His commitments; and is always there for us. He is our salvation and our strength.
In the daily Gospel from last Tuesday, Jesus heals a man who was cripple for most or all of his life. Scripture says Jesus tells the man to “Rise up, take your mat, and walk. (John 5:8)” When I read this verse, I wonder -why didn’t Jesus tell him to toss his mat away? After all, the man was lying on that mat for 38 years. Maybe Jesus wanted to leave the man with a constant reminder of his former condition? Lugging around his silly mat might have been annoying, but I’ll bet the man never forgot his life depended on Jesus.
So it is with us – we carry our mats. Our Catechism tells us that although Baptism removes Original Sin, there are certain worldly consequences of sin like suffering, illness, death, and human weakness that keep us from getting carried away with our self (CCC 1274). Our human vulnerability to suffering and death actually unites us to Jesus, who suffered and died for us. Our lifelong war against temptation prepares us to receive a crown of glory. After all, Jesus did establish seven sacraments to receive sanctifying grace, not just one. Baptism does indeed make us holy. The rest of the sacraments, especially regular Confession and Communion, make us more holy.
In our second reading today, St. Paul said “Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13b-14)” As the weather warms, the trees and flowers begin to bud, the beauty of Spring unfolds around us, and we look forward to the joy of Easter, may nothing – no lingering discouragement or regret, cloud or darkness – impede our Lord’s victory over sin and death. May your final 40 days of Lent be blessed remembering this is the season that unites us to Jesus, our Savior and our Lord.
Adapted from The Magnificat, April 2019