So, what’s for dinner tonight? At the abbey, we always ask each other, “What’s are we eating tonight?” Or, we talk about lunch or the quality of our breakfast.
Control- we all want control. We want control of our jobs, our retirement, our kids, our families, our spouses, our community members, and…God. We would control even death if we could. But we can’t! We are all growing older. Life is messy and sometimes, even liturgy is messy.
After fifty years of exile in Babylon, the people feel as if God abandons them because they have no control of their lives. There is no temple. There is no sacrifice. Families and cities are torn apart. Just when all hope is fleeting, God speaks through a prophet. God is like a mother who never forgets the child of her womb. Tenderly, God speaks to her people words of hope and comfort.
And even as God continues to speak through Jesus, we still crave control. Why do we worry so much? Good worry leads me to action and prayer on behalf of another person. But chronic worry leads to health problems can affect sleep, relationships, job performance and appetite. Spiritually, in the words of St. Paul, we can offset control of life and our worries if we do our job as Christians. The world needs to see us doing these two things: serving Christ, and being good stewards of the mysteries of God.
So, thank the Lord for Lent. This Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, we can make this season of grace a time to relinquish control of our lives and our worries. St. Benedict says that we should add something more to the measure of our service. We can serve Christ more by helping our neighbor, speaking a kind word, swallowing our pride, visiting the infirm, fasting from nastiness and asking for forgiveness. We can be good stewards of the mysteries of God by getting to church early and pray over the scriptures, by more prayer throughout the day, by reading a bible verse everyday, by praying the rosary and by participating fully in the Eucharist.
“No one can serve two masters.” Lent gives us a chance to devote ourselves to one master- Jesus the Lord who is present to us in one another, in the proclamation of the Word and here at this altar as Sacrament. As we seek Christ’s kingdom, God wants our trust.
The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.
8th Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle A