It can be easy to look at Lent as a time of gloom or punishment, but it’s really a great opportunity. Fr. Danny Gustafson, SJ, reflects on the purpose of Lent in this special One-Minute Homily. Based on the readings for Ash Wednesday.
Fasting and abstinence, prayers and penances. Are we being punished for something? No! Quite the opposite!
Hi, I’m Fr. Danny Gustafson, and this is my One-Minute Homily.
Ash Wednesday kicks off the penitential season of Lent. We mark our foreheads with ashes and spend the next forty days preparing ourselves for Easter. It would be all too easy to see Lent as a time to walk around, looking gloomy, complaining about how we can’t have meat on Fridays, and telling everyone about what we’re giving up for Lent. But doing so would miss the point. Lent isn’t a punishment, it’s an opportunity!
In today’s first reading, God tells us, “return to me with your whole heart, rend your hearts, not your garments.” During this season God gives us the opportunity we need – to return to God by spending more time in prayer, and by setting aside those things that get in the way of our relationship with God. The chance to return to God with our whole hearts? Why would we be gloomy about that?