As we begin our Lenten journey on Ash Wednesday, we recognize that the Lord implores us “on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God”.
Reconciliation is easier to talk about when there are no conflicts in our community, or sin in our lives. However, reconciliation is something we are called to embody, especially in the midst of conflict and human weakness. Conflict in the soul and our human family need the merciful and healing grace of God. Lent is our time as a Christian family to turn, in humble prayer, to our loving God, earnestly imploring God’s gracious peace and help in our frailty.
With profound sadness, we know that often times conflict serves to polarize people and whole communities, rather than provide an invitation to dialogue and patient discernment. The present tensions in Canada with the Wet’suwet’en First Nations communities have many people posing the conflict as: hereditary chiefs verses elected chiefs; environment verses economy; force verses dialogue; Indigenous law verses Western law, etc. The issues are much more complex than the explanations offered in a short sound bite in the media, for they are deeply rooted in our history. May we resist every temptation to have power, control and money. We need prayer and sacrifice for restorative and transformative justice to prevail.
In order to truly live a spiritual life and provide leadership during this season of Lent, we must fundamentally embrace the cross of Christ and the crosses of our time, to live with a profound springtime of hope in the resurrection of Christ and our hope of eternal life.
By listening to God’s Word in Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church, we will be better able to serve as instruments of peace in the midst of hurt and conflict as we witness to the Gospel and proclaim the saving mercy of Christ. May this Lent be a time of fasting from judgement, by having a strong heart that listens deeply and a good mind “to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8).
Lent begins with the imposition of ashes upon our heads to help us recall that we “are dust and to dust we shall return”. May we believe that by the wounds of Christ, healing and reconciliation will be possible in our lives, our common home, our families, our communities, and all our relations. May we have the courage to fully live the reality to which we are called, to be reconciled to God (and our neighbour).