This morning I was reflecting on the Lenten messages of the past. How so many times the message was give up something until it hurts, but this year I am thinking about giving away things like good thoughts, smiles food and clothing.
During my sickness and recovery I have been studying Paul. I read many books and journals. Books on perching Paul and the historical Paul. It is in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians that he ask’s the church in Corinth to give of themselves and goods to the church in Jerusalem.
Christ showed the way. It is God’s grace that he shared a love that does not hesitate of offer itself in sacrifice for the beloved. Charity, love, is sharing in all things with everyone. Love breaks down walls and eliminates distances between people. Just think about the mystery of Jesus being born of the Virgin Mary, truly human in very way except sin. Jesus worked with human hands, thought with a human mind, acted by his human choice and loved with his human heart.
Jesus made himself poor, not because he was seeking for himself, but because as Saint Paul say’s”that by his poverty you might become rich”. Play on words? I don’t think so. I think this Gods logic. The logic of love in the incarnation and cross. Paul states that we were set free, not by Christ’s riches but by his poverty. Paul is very aware of the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8) “he is the heir of all things” (Heb 1:2) In that Christ chose to comfort us, to save us, to free us from our misery.
So what is this poverty by which Christ frees us and enriches us? First it is his way of loving us, he’s way of being our neighbor. If I follow Christ this lent in this kind of poverty I will be rich in Christ. Some where (I can’t remember where) I read that the real poverty is not living as children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ.
The next question that came to my mind was, “How do I take this message to my community ?” It is not easy to talk about human resources and distributive justices in this corporate society. During this election year it is even more difficult. I know that the Gospel is the real antidote to spiritual destitution and I am called on to proclaim the liberation news that forgiveness for sins is possible, God is greater than our sins, and that he freely loves us no matter what, and that we are all made for communion and eternal life. This should be good news to our brothers and sisters experiencing darkness of soul, hunger, and homelessness. But it is only good news if we feed, house and provided Christian community to all. Bottom line for me is to imitate Christ as best I can. This lent can be for all of us a time of self-denial becoming more responsible for the destitution around us and remember that social justice is our calling.