Well, here we are in our first week of Lent. How are you doing? As in all things, beginnings are usually strong, but like long-distance runners, we need to keep our eye on the goal and pace ourselves. Try and keep this in mind during these weeks of Lent.
Here at the Parish, we are looking at the thought that Jesus is the key. In looking at last week’s Sunday reading and the upcoming reading for this week, I recognize that Jesus is always with us. From the example of how to face temptation to being on a mountaintop with us, Jesus is ever present – even when we come down from that mountain!
If you think about it, Jesus experienced what it was like to be truly human. So, I guess for today we could say that Jesus is the key to living an abundant life with all of its ups and downs. During my lifetime I have never before experienced a time that ‘exposed’, if you will, humanity in its truly imperfect form. The length of this pandemic sort of reminds me of the time Jesus spent in the desert. He probably started out strong but by the end He was weary, and it was hard to fight off the temptations that were surrounding him. Are not there days that you feel like that?
We have had a year of unknowns and struggles, of loss and disbelief. How do we continue? We need to look to Jesus and see how He dealt with challenges. Prayer and time with His Father were one way. Do we spend enough time in prayer, or do we use our time to complain and place blame on others for things that are happening around us? Sometimes we just need to be silent and listen. Jesus has the answers for us; are we willing to listen, open our hearts and minds, and perhaps do some Attitude Adjustments?
We go from the desert to the mountaintop, and this time Jesus has His core group of Apostles with Him. They, like most of us, want to stay on that mountaintop. I love when this Gospel comes around, for I find myself saying ‘let me build three tents’ when I have experienced something good, beautiful, or exciting in my life. That is the temptation; we would love to stay on that high. But life is not like that, it has its ups and downs. The great thing is that if we believe that Jesus was fully human, then He is the key to a full and abundant life. I think what happens is we start to decide what it means to have a full and abundant life. For some it may mean having everything they want and no pain or disappointment in their lives. For others it may mean success in all they do, great childhood, perfect marriage, and great retirement. All good things, but there are always peaks and valleys in all the landscape of life. True, some have higher peaks and others lower valleys, but the key is do we live it to the fullest. Jesus did.
If we look at Jesus being the key to an abundant life, then we need to see how He lived His human life. Our scriptures a rich with the examples of how Jesus tried to help others live abundant lives, from raising the dead to raising the dignity of women, to curing the sick to speaking out about injustices. But all of this came at a price, and Jesus was willing to pay that price.
Am I willing to pay the price of living an abundant life? Jesus was.
Till next week,