As Christ’s passion unfolds we soon see that we are not being invited to live lives of pleasure or power but of suffering. We are invited to empty ourselves to make room for God in our lives. So what draws us to accept such an invitation? It is astounding that Christ should have so many followers in the wake of such an unattractive proposition!
In today’s Gospel, we hear the story of Martha and Mary, and their feelings of despair at the death of their brother, Lazarus. The human experience of struggling to maintain hope in the face of despair unites Martha’s story with our own, and teaches us to find God’s goodness and grace in our most fragile moments.
In the third Sunday of Lent, we hear about Jesus’ choice to visit Samaria, a place and a people looked down upon by the Jews. Once there, he engages in a theological discussion with a woman, and not just any woman, but a woman that the Evangelist’s audience would have frowned upon.
In the second Sunday of Lent, we reflect on this week’s Gospel, recounting Christ’s transfiguration, which has commonality with my experience as a missioner in Bolivia. Five words came to mind sequentially as I reflected on this passage and my work with Solidarity Bridge: privilege, remoteness, intensity, uncertainty, and humility.
“In the gospels, the particular word used for repentance is metanoia. Literally this means to do an about face, to turn around, to face in an entirely new direction.” And this is the invitation for this first Sunday of Lent - to turn our lives around - to face in an entirely new direction. Jesus is urging his listeners - and us - to change our lives, to see anew.