March 5 – Second Sunday of Lent

I remember shortly after being ordained, I decided that my Lenten sacrifice was going to be giving up adult beverages.  I don’t drink all too often, but it was still a sacrifice I thought was worthy to give over to the Lord.  Ash Wednesday came and the following weekend was a big St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the town.  I went to the parade; seeing parishioners in their festive green gear and I visited houses in the midst of the all day celebration.  A simple question was asked, “Father, can I get you a drink?”  You would think that my keen memory would remember the sacrifices I was going to make 3 days ago; but I forgot and I gladly said, “Yes”.  It wasn’t until that night when I got back to the Rectory that I realized, only 3 days into Lent and I already failed in my Lenten resolve.  It was a humbling experience, but another opportunity to join the patriarchs and apostles, and ask the Lord for his unending mercy!

The story of Abram (Abraham) is a story of salvation history and example of God’s patience.  The Lord even in the midst of many of Abram’s failure never removed God’s desire to be with His people.  Abram was promised great things; a great nation, a great name (dynasty), and a worldwide blessing.  But there was a requirement that we missed; he had to leave his kin behind. If you were to read one line past our first reading, you would discover he took his nephew Lot.  Throughout Abram/Abraham’s story, he falls short many times failing to give a complete surrender to the Lord; yet the Lord is kind and merciful.

This is no different for the Apostles and those who follow the Lord.  The season of Lent is a season of repentance, turning back to the Lord.  Let us ask the Lord for that continued gift to seek his mercy without end.  No matter how many times we fall. 

“Christian holiness does not mean being sinless, but rather it means struggling not to give in and always getting up after every fall. Holiness does not stem so much from the effort of man’s will, as from the effort to never restrict the action of grace in one’s own soul, and to be, moreover, grace’s humble ‘partner.'” ~ Pope St. JPII

Father Michael