A reading from Isaiah: Thus says the LORD,
who opens a way in the sea
and a path in the mighty waters,
who leads out chariots and horsemen,
a powerful army,
till they lie prostrate together, never to rise,
snuffed out and quenched like a wick.
Remember not the events of the past,
the things of long ago consider not;
see, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
In the desert I make a way,
in the wasteland, rivers.
Wild beasts honor me,
jackals and ostriches,
for I put water in the desert
and rivers in the wasteland
for my chosen people to drink,
the people whom I formed for myself,
that they might announce my praise. (Is 43: 16-21) Gospel Acclamation:
Even now, says the Lord,
return to me with your whole heart;
for I am gracious and merciful. (JL 2: 12-13)
How has your Lent been?
This has been the hardest Lent for me personally, for my friends and for our wider community. Our failures and challenges are many and we all keenly feel the weight of difficult news of late. There are few words to describe the dark experience as we languish through bad news after bad news and loss after loss.
And never before have I experienced the communion of saints this way. When the Church teaches us that our actions affect others, it is not just those around us, but every person in the Church. We affect the whole church because of our connectedness. We belong to God but also to each other. When one part of the body hurts, the whole-body hurts. We know this to be true in our immediate biological family. It is also true in the cosmic reality of the body of Christ.
I am thankful that it is Lent, because the ultimate hope of Lent is Easter. The ultimate hope of all our pain is Easter; where brokenness triggered the pouring out of God’s love and mercy for me and the whole world.
My other great solace has been to turn up to church on a weekday and see the faithfulness of other Catholics at prayer and worship. It is consolation in community. The faithfulness of others have given me new hope and strength because Christ was there among us, as He promised to be with us when two or three are gathered.
And together, as a community, we make an act of returning to the Lord with our whole heart, for we know He is gracious and merciful. He is doing something new, and in the desert He will make a way.