So what is the temptation when violence invades our neighborhood and makes our young people afraid? What is the temptation when it seems like things cannot change, when we think there cannot be peace, or we believe we are abandoned, or we meet the deepest darkest part of ourselves and we are afraid? One of the Lenten mission participants said, “We run, that is the temptation… we run away and we do not face reality.” No one wants to face the violence, or more conflict and anger, or fear itself – it is a lot of work to try and understand one another, much less our young people who respond with violence. And yet, running will only take us farther away from understanding.
During Lent we are invited into a conversation with one another and with God. Our dialogue, and mostly our ability to listen to others, will bring understanding and reconciliation. We are asked to invite others to sit with us and talk, to pray, even sometimes by ourselves, and to listen some more.
What we gain during Lent is a commitment to follow the way of Jesus. We stand to learn more about his patience. He guided the disciples toward Jerusalem, he drew himself near to those who are alienated and needed a kind word, he healed others and broke down barriers with his ability to listen, to feel and to speak. He was crucified and even when he felt abandoned, he prayed. He forgave. He rose from the dead.
During this time of Lent more than 45 homes are participating weekly in the Lenten Mission reflection. The gathering groups of friends and families are reflecting on the themes of Lent to pray, give and change our habits to listen more to one another. The prayer of these communities is a little piece of the Kingdom of God breaking through in our midst.
I pray for all of our homes and families during this time of Lent. May we be strong when faced with temptations, and commit ourselves to truly believe the Kingdom is breaking through as we strive to listen and understand one another. May we pay attention so that we do not miss the resurrection!
Fr. Bruce Wellems, CMF