Friday After Ash Wednesday
Live your life fully and well, declaring the word of God with every footstep, every breath, every hug, every song. Maybe not in the sense of preaching and using “God language” all the time, but by being intentional towards how you treat the God you encounter every day- in people, in nature, and in yourself.
Lent is a time to acknowledge our crosses, and to carry them in solidarity with Jesus as he carried his to Calvary. Jesus does not call us to fast as a sacrifice for ourselves or as a personal challenge, but rather he calls us to fast from the ways in which we live that separate us from him. That may mean looking inside ourselves and learning to love the God within us despite what we have deemed unworthy of love. After all, if we cannot fully love ourselves, how can we fully love the God that is within us? I think that some of our biggest doubts of faith in God come from our biggest doubts of faith in ourselves. What can we do this Lenten season to embrace our imperfections and love whom God made us to be?
It also may mean turning outward to see how our actions affect the rest of God’s creation. The last bit of Isaiah is very reminiscent to the beatitudes. During this time of year we are called to fast, but not just for the sake of fasting. We are called to fast from the ways we luxuriously live our lives at the expense of others. From where do we buy clothes, food, shoes, electronics, alcohol, drugs? Who is behind the machine producing our luxuries, how are they paid, what are their working conditions? Can we fast from these things so that our fast “releases those bound unjustly” or “sets free the oppressed” or “shares bread with the hungry... and homeless,” or “clothes the naked” and “that does not turn our back on our own” brothers and sisters?
God wants us to look at the crosses and burdens of others, and help carry them right now. The psalm says that God is “not pleased with sacrifices” in the form of burnt offerings, but rather “a heart contrite and humble.” Can we sacrifice the blind eye we turn to our suffering brothers and sisters this Lenten season for a humble and loving heart? We walk in solidarity with Jesus during this time of year, carrying our own crosses so that our eyes may be open to those currently crucified by society. Let us reflect this season on how we can eliminate crucifying others by our lives, and how we can live our lives to take the already crucified down from their crosses.
Emily Haas is a Junior studying Psychology, Spanish, and International Studies with minors in Theology and Urban Poverty Studies. She is currently studying in Argentina.