By Bro. Warren Perrotto, MSC
Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God’s saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
Lent is truly a time for spiritual renewal. It is always a time for us to take upon ourselves a good “examination of conscience,” as a desert experience. Jesus is calling each of us by name to enter the Kingdom of God through prayer, fasting, alms giving, and penance, so that our faith and trust in Jesus can be strengthened to live the Gospel Message in our daily lives. To do so we need to spend this time focusing on our lives, looking at our strengths and weaknesses. Let us thank God for our strength and resolved to heal our weaknesses. Indeed, Lent calls for the transformation and reorientation of all of us disturbed by sin. It announces a time for decision-making, a time to evaluate priorities, a time for repentance, a change of heart, and a time to overcome evil, sin, and death. It is a time to renew the face of the earth into the image and likeness of Christ. With a sincere heart of repentance, we need to seek forgiveness and healing for the times we have not lived our lives worthy of our vocation. This is our way to salvation.
The counsel that Jesus gives us in the above can be good theme for us to reflect upon in our faith-journey during this season of Lent. At the heart of Jesus’ words and actions was the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. Jesus makes public this Kingdom of God in himself when addressing the assembly in the synagogue, ”The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to speak to them, “This text is being fulfilled today even while you are listening.” (Luke 4:18-21). This was a proclamation of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is in the here and now. The life of Jesus offers us a great opportunity during Lent to seek the Kingdom of God as a priority for our lives. Seeking the Kingdom of God is the precise attitude and approach for us during this season. Lent requires an internal disposition, to put aside and abandon behaviors and thing that distract us from focusing and living our calling to be disciples of Jesus, to build up God’s Reign. Lent is a proclamation of God addressing us in Christ, “Come back to me with all your heart.”
Jesus offers a blueprint on the nature and substance of the Kingdom of God. God’s reign is also a challenging moment for the followers of Christ, where love and service of God and neighbor, even if one is an enemy, reigns as the primary rule of worship and behavior (Cf. Matthew 5:43-48; 22:34-40; 25:31-46; Luke 10: 29-37; 16:19-31).