Today’s Gospel shows the struggle Jesus is having with the Jewish community. He wants them to take Him seriously. Jesus said to the Jews:
“If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true….But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave to me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.”
Many theologians believe that Jesus, God-Man, came to know more clearly what his mission in life was while he spent 40 days and nights in the desert. He came to understand the “works” that his Father had given Him to accomplish.
Those “works” were to show – by his words and actions – who He was and to show us how to cultivate a prayerful relationship with the Father, to forgive, and to love one another as God loves us.
So that is what we are to concentrate on doing during this “joyful” season of Lent:
How does this translate in our own lives? To use the word “joyful” with Lent is a new concept for me. When I was growing up, the practice of fasting, abstinence, and giving things up was the main concentration. As an adult, I have learned that while all those things are good – there is another way to live Lent.
That “joyful” way is to concentrate on the goodness of God to send his Son to offer himself up us. We can reflect on God’s goodness to us daily.
This year I am not giving up anything for Lent. Rather, I am trying “to love” more. On my refrigerator I have posted the words of Paul in I Corinthians: “Love is patient and kind….” That’s enough for me to work on all Lent…and beyond.
During Holy Week we join Jesus as He carries the cross for us and spend time in reflecting on His Passion. All of Jesus’ deeds and actions are for us. May your Lent be one that is “joyful” remembering the goodness of God in Jesus.
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