Dear friends on the journey,
Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “change is the only constant in life.” But who likes change? I generally do not, unless it involves moving furniture! Change can often bring discomfort, fear and uncertainty. The thought of any of my kids or family moving away is gut wrenching. Anything that disturbs our daily comforts is overwhelming. On the other side of that same coin, change can bring us new people, adventures, experiences, joy and personal growth, both on the surface and deep down.
One constant change are the seasons. In the next few weeks spring will arrive, bringing a new earth, new light and new life. This Wednesday our liturgical season changes too. Lent begins our annual 40-day spiritual retreat, a time to reflect on our spiritual life and relationship with God. If done right, that reflection can lead to change, the positive kind, the kind that transforms our hearts and minds to be more like Jesus.
Jesus is constantly challenging us to change. To be his disciple means to shed our old ways and move closer to living the gospel values. Today’s readings are a perfect example of the radicalness of Christian discipleship. The readings are bookended by Lord telling the Israelite through Moses to “be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy” and Jesus telling his disciples (the apostles and us) to “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” How can we possibly be holy and perfect? In Luke perfect is synonymous with merciful. Well, in the middle we’re given part of the formula:
What old way of yours is God calling you to change? Is it an unhealthy habit or addiction, a quick temper, too much time on a smart device? Is it an old grudge, impatience with your nextdoor neighbor or the store clerk, rage on the road, a family member with a different political opinion? Is it a lack of tolerance for the outorwork man at the off ramp, the indifference to the homeless, the judgment of immigrants, the condemnation of those of other races, religions, sexual orientation?
This Lent is a good time to pray on your own area of growth and reflect on the new way, the transformational change to which God is calling you to be holy and merciful and love your neighbor as yourself.
Faith Life Minister