Jan Brown, reflecting on the death of her son, a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan, remembered Kevin:

“He was born to do this job. If he could do it all over again and have a choice to happen the way it did or work at McDonald’s and live to be 104? He’d do it all over again.”

During this sacred season of Lent, we might check out our unexamined assumptions. Jesus’ Passion and Death were not some tragic mistake or wrong turn in the road but echoing T. S.Eliot in the Journey of the Wisemen and Kevin…

A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:

Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly.

All this was a long time ago, I remember, And I would do it again.

Calvary encompassed and reveals God’s eternal love for us.

The Lenten journey of reflection and its implication for our own lives beckons us to examine our own ‘status quo’ for a reality check. The reality of our lives is the place of transformation and redemption. The reality of our lives is that sacred space in which salvation comes not because we have loved God but because God has loved us. Lent is not this or that day nor even the forty days but a process of conversion and it is never too soon nor too late to begin.

Liturgically, Lent begins in a desert (1st Sunday of Lent) and a flooded earth but ends at the Cross, an empty tomb and the message of salvation: “this day you will be with me in paradise”…words spoken by Jesus to the Good Thief but echoed in each of our lives… words spoken of Jesus by an Angel…“He is risen, He is not here”…no winding sheet could hold, no tomb retain the Risen One.

Lent is the Church’s annual attempt to refocus our attention on the heroic and virtuous Son of God, Jesus Christ and through a call to a certain asceticism urges that we prepare that harmony within ourselves which will enable us for a new conversion. The scheme of readings for the Sundays of Lent guides our celebrations, calls us to repentance and prepares our souls to walk with Jesus on His journey through death to Resurrection.

As if to prepare us for this grand pilgrimage the very first reading of the first Sunday of Lent this year relates the story of Noah . We are fortunate in that portion of the Noah story chosen to be read today.

Rather than Genesis 6:5
The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”

Genesis 9:8 is the chosen passage we hear and it focuses on the faithful love of God:

“See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you
and with every living creature that was with you: all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark.

I will establish my covenant with you,
that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood;
there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.” God added:
“This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you
and every living creature with you:
I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign
of the covenant between me and the earth.
When I bring clouds over the earth,
and the bow appears in the clouds,
I will recall the covenant I have made
between me and you and all living beings,
so that the waters shall never again become a flood
to destroy all mortal beings.”

We hear the word of God assuring us that a covenant has been established between God and ourselves and we are encouraged in our resolve to spend Lent well.

Like a wise teacher, Holy Mother Church uses the Sunday Liturgy to remind us of our heritage and in a broad catechesis puts us in touch with our tradition. If we follow these Sundays with care we journey from the birth of Israel, our spiritual ancestor, to the Redemption of the world in the suffering, death and Resurrection of Jesus.

If we listen to the scriptures, we will walk the great journey, we will make new beginnings by acknowledging God in our lives. We will walk by the light of Christ and trust in His wisdom. This is the path of faith on which Christ lovingly guides us to eternal life (prayer from the RCIA)

Sr. Maria Ahearn, OCD