JER 7: 23-28
PS 95: 1-2, 6-7, 8-9
LK 11: 14-23
Friends of the SLU community:
We are about half way through Lent, and I pray that we can use this day to reflect on our Lenten journey thus far. Right around this time is when I start to realize that 40 days is a long time. 40 days can be a very rough and tedious amount of time to remain faithful to adjustments of habits, dedicated prayer, and a change in food choices that we committed ourselves to about three weeks ago. But perhaps, this is a time to look to Scripture. The Great Flood lasted for 40 days (Genesis 7:12). Moses spent 40 days on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 34:28). The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 days (Numbers 14:33). Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days (Matthew 4:2). Is Lent 40 days just by coincidence? Not one bit.
The number 40 represents something absolutely beautiful. It is a period meant for preparation and cleansing for something great that is coming. Lent is the perfect time to refresh our hearts and refocus ourselves in our faith journey. And even though we are about three weeks in, this does not mean that it is too late for this. There is always time for new beginnings because Jesus is made new and gives us a new day every single morning.
In today’s first reading we hear from the book of Jeremiah. Jesus commands His people to listen to His voice and follow His commandments. And what do His people do? The exact opposite. They turn their heads away from Him and “walk in the hardness of their evil hearts.” This immediately struck me as so applicable to our daily lives. Everyday Jesus hands us an invitation to walk with Him that day. From the moment our feet hit the ground, He asks us to listen to His voice and follow His ways. And how often do we turn our heads and walk the other way? Simply because we are too busy. We are rushed. We are distracted. We are preoccupied.
It’s not too late. I pray that today we spend time in prayer with our Lord reflecting on the ways in which we have turned our back on Him and how we can spend the next couple weeks as a time of choosing to turn our face towards Him. In past years, I’ve gotten frustrated at the end of Lent because I would think to myself, “well, another Lent went by, and I feel just the same.” I challenge you to not let that be you this year. Start right now, begin today. Jesus doesn’t put a time limit on when we can fall back in love with Him and His ways. The journey begins when you are willing to say “yes!” He’s ready for you!