Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
February 27, 1998

Maureen McCann Waldron

The Collaborative Ministry Office
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Mardi Gras, the traditional New Orleans pre-Lenten celebration, ended on Tuesday. In the days and weeks before Ash Wednesday, people who take part in the festivities wear intricate masks to parties and in parades.

During this season of Lent, God invites us to take off our masks. In our daily lives, we create barriers that hide our authentic selves from each other, and from God. We put on these masks because we are afrraid, and our deepest fear is that we aren't good enough. We fear that if we let people get close to us, they will discover that we aren't as charming, patient, loving, honest or generous as our masks portrays us, and so we really aren't worthy of the love we long for.

And so we keep the people in our lives at a distance and keep our masks tightly in place because we doubt ourselves and are afraid that if we truly become vulnerable and open up our authentic selves, even God might find us unlovable.

In today's readings, we are reminded of God's love and invited to a true honesty. Rather than making a show out of fasting by wearing a sackcloth and calling attention to ourselves, God asks us to simply treat others more justly, share our bread with the hungry and shelter the homeless.

The chaos of Mardi Gras is over and in the quiet aftermath, we are invited into a deeper relationship with the one who loves our deepest, most authentic selves, more than we can imagine.

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