Lent is a little like having a haircut. The sun feels warmer and the wind fresher around the ears. The haircut tends to make us all feel better…was it not one of the real nuisances of the pandemic? Hairdressers and barbers were severely curtailed. In some ways, the cut restores hope. And whatever the beginnings, liturgically, and however we celebrate it today, Lent is ultimately a time to refresh and invigorate hope; hope that has been tarnished, dashed, even sometimes extinguished. Ultimately, the season leads to the proclamation of the Easter message, “Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again.”
Hope in today’s restored Liturgy is offered for those seeking Baptism (and so many are in parishes all over) as well as refreshed hope for those worn out by the trials and tribulations of daily life. After all, the personal trials, the inhumane treatment, and physical brutality taken on by Jesus and, to a lesser extent by the two thieves (guilty of crimes), the innocent Jesus conquered all the hate and ignorance and manipulation of his religious traditions by envious and power-seeking leaders of his people, to triumph.
Hope was restored to humanity!
Few will read the scripture of this Sunday and not see the parallels of today’s world. One finds it hard to believe that in our enlightened society (true in many aspects), people can be so cruel to other people.
Evil is so obviously real in our world and on display everywhere and, thankfully, this current experience has shocked and awoken a world often consumed by the slogan, “What do I want?”
We are still full of selfish mistakes and witness examples of superpower aggression.
It is much easier to look outside ourselves and point out the faults in our neighbours!
But the Gospel challenges us at the beginning of Lent to go into our inner space and to connect with the themes of the Gospel related temptations that Jesus faced:
- to POSSESS all the kingdoms
- to DEVOUR all the bread
- to THRILL on the high parapet
- to IMPRESS all the glory.
We all succumb in some way or other.
Have a haircut this Lent and let the Holy Spirit lead you though the desert and emerge with a new invigorated hope for yourself and for our world.