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Fourth Sunday of Lent

Ellen Boegel, Staten Island, NY Associate

The readings this Lent certainly have been challenging and this week is no exception. One interpretation is that God is just as fickle as God’s people. We are unfaithful and God is angry. We repent and God forgives us; we have faith by God’s grace alone, but we are condemned if we do not believe. We may not be boastful of our good works, but we must not do wicked things. This Lenten desert is confusing.

 

Many of us have reflected on the word we selected in January to be our 2015 prayer mantra.  My word is “Rejoice.” I chose it as a challenge to try and continue the joy of Christmas despite a tragedy that occurred in my life on December 26. Since then there have been more deaths, more disappointments, more sad news about the state of our world. How can these readings help me, help us, respond to the pain of shattered lives, horrific violence, a despoiled earth?

The main message this week is faith. But what is faith? Faith is not knowledge; it cannot be reasoned. Faith is not a reward; it cannot be bought or earned. It cannot be conjured by simply accepting what others have told us or what we read in Scripture. Faith is a gift, but rather than being a party favor handed out at the door to anyone who knocks, faith is, I think, an invitation to the party, a knock on our door that asks us to enter into a relationship, and it is delivered through our own experiences of love. Those of us who lack faith can only pray for it and try to listen for the knock on the door, to remain open to possibility of Love. Those of us who have it, can only pray we never lose it for we know it is all that keeps us from the abyss of despair. Like the Israelites in the Psalm, may the despair and darkness of our lives never extinguish the memory of our love of God. For those of us who struggle with faith, who struggle to stay in the light and rejoice, the memory of love may be all that remains, but the Gospel promises us this will be enough.

 

 

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