We are Called to Begin the Inward Work
This Sunday the Church will observe the last Sunday of Epiphany. It has been a season of manifestations of Jesus’ power to heal and cast out demons and amaze all who came into contact with him. In short it puts in place where we see the power of God to enter into human life and transform what it means to be human. In this season we see that all the forces that limit and restrict us are called out so that the eternal joy and love of God can be made manifest in our lives and our world.
Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. On this day we will, in a sense, join Jesus on his journey from the joy of hearing God’s life giving Word at his baptism in the Jordan River, to the introspective 40 days in the wilderness as we begin the Season of Lent.
It’s really a pretty dramatic juxtaposition of liturgies and perspectives. This Sunday we are taken up to the breathtaking vista of the Mount of Transfiguration, where we stand next to God and the great prophets and apostles of sacred history. Yet in just a few days we are led into the wilderness of Lent to consider the parameters and contradictions of our spiritual and psychic life.
The Christian life takes us on a journey of extremes as it expands the horizons of our human condition and consciousness. Because we know the incredible possibility of life with the divine source of our creation, we are willing to examine the disease and demons that separate us from having this experience. What private fears and prejudices keep us from fully experiencing joy and love? We are not concerned with a new moralism that fills us with excessive anxiety and vigilance, but an honest encounter with ourselves to discover what impedes our progress and participation in the new life we observe in scripture. Lent is our annual spiritual maintenance program.
This Wednesday, we are called to begin an inward look to help us clear out all that hinders and binds us. If we are serious, it can be a time of discovery and transformation. This is not an enforced punishment for our sins, but a chance to join with spiritual pilgrims throughout the ages, who press on to make the gospel their own story. In so doing we become active agents of love, forgiveness and healing that helps others to find liberation and to become fully and richly human.