Lent traditionally lasts forty days, modeled after Christ’s forty day fast in the desert. As we look out our windows this morning in New England, however, it looks nothing like Christ’s desert, but personally I think it is quite fitting to begin the season, on a dark and quiet morning, as we prepare to travel to our Churches to receive the ashes made from the palm branches blessed on last year’s Palm Sunday, that serve as a reminder of our mortality.
March 01, 2017
Daily Reading from the USCCB: Joel 2:12-18
Today is the first day of Lent, the Church’s season of repentance. The prophet Joel gives us two insights into what repentance involves.
First, repentance is an affair of the heart. It’s not just behavior modification, not just taking on “practices.” If there is no change of will, no attempt to modify the inclinations of our heart, then the change of behavior or the penitential practices simply won’t happen. Or they won’t mean much if they do.
Joel’s second insight is that the call to repentance is addressed to everyone–elders, children, brides and grooms, priests. No one is exempt simply because there is no one whose heart is already fully in tune with the Lord.
Lent works from within us. Lent is for everybody.