In this world of possibility that we live in today, we often find it appealing to believe that we have many choices. We are told, "the world is at your fingertips" or "sky is the limit." But, then a crisis comes along, and things begin to crumble. Choices of the past painfully effect the present and future.
This year, I believe that we need Lent more than ever. In Lent, we simplify. In Lent, we go back to basics. In Lent, we walk with Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem and follow the Way of the Cross. In Lent, we get honest and face our struggles and pains and embrace the heart of our faith as revealed in through the passion and death of Jesus Christ.
In today’s reading from the Gospel according to St. Luke, we join Jesus as he begins his journey to Jerusalem. Jesus explains to his disciples from the outset that he must endure great suffering and rejection before he is killed, and then he will be raised on the third day. Jesus was not telling them that he might, could, or should endure this painful journey, but that he must.
Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem also points the way for our lives as disciples. During Lent, we too realize what we must do. We too must walk the road to Jerusalem and accept our suffering. Ultimately through embracing the passion and death of Jesus Christ, we too are invited to new life-in this world and beyond. We must die to our selves that we may know this new life.
Life through death…this is the choice that Jesus presents to us.
What will you choose this day and throughout this Lenten Season? Will you choose life by confronting your struggles, conflicts, misunderstandings, betrayals and suffering? Will you place your faith and hope in the Lord that this journey-often filled with disappointment, pain and obstacles-will ultimately lead to greater peace and a new union with God and everlasting life?
The choice is ours and as disciples we must follow.
See you on the road to Jerusalem. It is nice to have companions on the journey!
Angela Howell is a retreatant and volunteer at Mater Dolorosa Passionists Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, California.