Obviously, Lent is a time for us to stop and consider our faith in God and our love for God. It is a time to weigh how our trust in God and our love for God balance in the scales with our love for so many other things, even with our love for those people closest to us.
Lent is a time to look at Abraham, Isaac, and Jesus and to remember that their faith in God and their love for the Father of us all (above all else) was the very faith and love to which each of us is called. When asked what is the greatest commandment, what did Jesus answer? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. (Mt 22,37)
Lent calls us to notice that simple things like fasting, abstaining from meat on Fridays, and “giving up” whatever we’re giving up, (things we sometimes groan about as if we were martyrs…) these practices are designed, in very small ways, to help us begin to measure, help us “take the temperature” of our faith in God and our love for our Father in heaven. Lenten “exercises” can help us remember that the comforts and pleasures of this life (even the most loving relationships we have in this life) will one day come to an end. And then, we will stand alone, before God, with nothing in hand except the contents of our hearts, and we will hope to be welcomed into the company of God’s angels and saints in order to behold the fullness of God’s glory.
So, Lent is a time to ponder: “What’s the most difficult thing God is asking of me? And how am I responding to what God is asking?” With this in mind, notice that the story of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22,1-18) prefigures the story of Jesus and His Father. As Abraham did not withhold his beloved son, Isaac, from God, neither did God withhold His beloved Son, Jesus, from us. However, no messenger swooped down upon the Cross to rescue Christ! He suffered and offered His life for us – withholding nothing – so that we might have life and have it to the full.
May Lent, this Lent of 2021, be a time for us to ponder who is God, where is God, and how is God in our lives. May it continue to be a season which finds us growing in faith and in our love for God, whose love for us knows no bounds.