Lent is a special time that the church offers for the spiritual renewal of its people. It provides opportunity to open our personal maintenance schedule and take a close look at ourselves as we journey in our spiritual life. The three readings of today, emphasizes the lines of actions that we need to draw up for these days of lent to make the maxim out of it.
During this season of lent one is exhorted fix three essential connections that one has in life namely Connection with the Fellow Being (Arms giving), Connection with God (Prayer), Connection with the Self (Penance).
1. Connection with the Other
The first connection suggested by the gospel today is our relationship with our fellow beings. We are called to be responsible for the other, the famous contemporary philosopher Emmanuel Levinas suggests that we are called to be responsible for the responsibility of the other that is to say we are called to be even responsible for the actions of the other people. Every other person is very much part of me and part of my life. In the gospel Jesus says when you do something for the poor let not your right hand knows what your left hand is doing. In no way you are called to expose the vulnerability of your brother, it is also quite true to acknowledge that I too am in a way responsible for the vulnerability of my brother.
2. Connection with God
The second connection suggested by the gospel for our reflection today is the connections with God. Every Christian during this season is exhorted to spend time in prayer. However, so often used we forget the real meaning of the word prayer at times. What is prayer? Prayer is a loving awareness of God for “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). It is not about making God aware of the list problems and difficulties that we have, rather it is about listening to him in the silence of our hearts. Prayer is about making ourselves more docile to the will of God, seeking his purpose for our existence on this earth.
3. Connection with the self
The tried connection suggested by the gospel today is the connection with the self. One is encouraged to do penance so as modify the self. The questions that we need to ask ourselves are do I love myself? What are the changes that I love to see in me? I feel the penances, especially the physical penance that we take up should mould ourselves to be better person at the end of 40 days of lent.
However, it is quite interesting to notice that three acts suggested are not an end in itself rather they are means to achieve greater goals in life. Let us focus on the real fast, to ourselves better persons for the kingdom of God.