Second Sunday of Lent

LITTLE THINGS FOR LOVE’S SAKE

Here we are at the Second Sunday of Lent. Our cravings have increased for what we are fasting from, and our energy has decreased for the resolutions we are taking on. It can seem like a dismal time, especially with the winter weather still upon us.

But Lent is far more a season for joy than for grief. At the heart of things, Lent teaches us to love more deeply. And yet we cannot love without suffering, or at the very least, a bit of discomfort. It seems that love and suffering go hand-in-hand. Why is this so?

In these times of collective longing, learning, and even anguish, we are more prone to notice the details. After all, it’s in “the little things” that make good things better, and harder things more difficult.  I imagine that this is why some of the best artists are among the most tortured souls. They embrace suffering in a way that is profound and prolific.

The second reading from Timothy begins with, “Brothers and Sisters, join me in suffering for the Gospel.” An invitation: to suffer for the promise of Good News. A reason: to unite in something larger than ourselves.

While many of us are lingering on the fear of pain, Jesus seems to hear us and offer a resounding, “Get up and do not be afraid” in the Gospel. As if to remind us that we are not alone in our suffering, He offers the best example of love: the cross, and the promise of a resurrection. Jesus didn’t run from the cross, He embraced it. And with this action, made all things new.

There may be suffering for the sake of love, but there is no fear in love.  By choosing to deprive ourselves of little luxuries, and extending ourselves a little further with acts of service, we leave that little bit of space for Jesus to dwell. By the cross, He has chosen us. It is in each season of Lent, that we may choose Him.