Jesus said, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). Here we are at the beginning of Lent, which deep down is always about abundant life.
For some of us, this season immediately evokes the question, “What are you giving up for Lent?” Candy, soft drinks, or movies were common choices in the 1950s when I was in grade school. Adults could forgo alcohol or cigarettes, but they already had to fast during Lent. We can also start doing something new during Lent, for example, some corporal or spiritual work of mercy. Which one? Choose one of the 14!
But perhaps the most important Lenten question is, “What is keeping me from experiencing the abundant life that Jesus wants me to enjoy?” Let’s resist the temptation to put the blame for that on someone else. For some people, that might mean learning to forgive one person for something he or she said or did. For other Christians, it might require naming their perfectionism as their primary obstacle to God’s grace. Half-truths can disguise the real reasons behind our decisions.
The Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving should lead us into deep truths about our individual and communal lives and then into more generous service. In Lent 2014, may we accept the full life that God wants to give us!