Thursday After Ash Wednesday

Readings: Dt 30: 15-20 / Ps 1: 1-4, 6 / Lk 9: 22-25

March never ceases to confuse me. In one moment the sweet fragrances of spring envelop us and inspire our hope for the coming season; in the next, a swift wind disperses that hopeful fragrance reminding us of a winter we thought was well behind us. March presents a choice, do we dwell on what is passing away or stand firm in the hope of what is coming to be.

“I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then.” The wind, by its nature, is transient, ever passing away. As spring flourishes, the delights of flowers and birds singing are life. The flowers are planted firmly in the ground. The birds’ song carries to attentive ears.  Our instinct is to praise God. May Lent unburden us so as to enjoy more fully what is our nature.

When Jesus commands that we “take up our cross daily and follow him,” it seems a tall order. Frankly, it sounds miserable. But he tells us to lose ourselves to save ourselves. This Lenten season can seem miserable at the outset. The sacrifices we have chosen to make in order to grow closer to God may seem insuperable. And it is easy to find ourselves bogged down in the yoke we have committed to carrying these forty days. Amid all this we recall that this is a choice we make. We choose life and by so choosing, proclaim life’s wonders.

Choose life, then. Life comes to be and wickedness passes away. We can lament that the wind disperses the fragrances of spring or chase the fragrances wherever they may be ever hopeful for what God brings forth.

Jonathan Mack
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Class of 2018