Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

Readings for March 24: Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

- Ryan G. Duns, SJ

The Lenten season can, at times, appear to be more like an endurance contest than a time of penance and reflection. By this I mean simply that, very often, folks enter into Lent strong out of the gate on Ash Wednesday with great resolve and and conviction: I Will Not eat another dessert; I Will Not have a drink; I Will eat less (and I will do all of these in the hopes that I can lose ten pounds in the process). Ironic that our frail human natures permit us to transform a time when we are called to learn to depend more and more on God keeps us, and not God, at the center of our lives!

Today's Gospel serves as a reminder our tendency to lose sight of what is most important in our lives. Our parable is not an excoriation of having wealth or having comfort; rather, it is an exhortation never to allow our own creature-comforts and selfish concerns become our absolute horizon. The glitter of the wealthy man's possessions so blinded him that what was essential - his fellow man languishing at door - was left unaided. 

I can't even begin to list the places and times I have been so similarly beguiled. Lent, as I have gotten older, is often the time I check-in through prayer and fasting to try and refocus on what is most essential in my life: the companionship with Jesus to which I have been invited, the service of the Church, and an invitation to help build God's Kingdom here on earth. As we near the end of the second week of our Lenten journey, perhaps it would be a good idea to reflect upon (1) how I have been or how I am blinded and (2) how I can easily allow myself to be blinded to the needs of others so that I retain my so-called illusion-free lifestyle. Such a refocusing may help me look outside my door or car window to see that the "poor" or "lazy" or "worthless" Other is, in actuality, a sister or brother.  

Let me see with eyes made new, O Lord!
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