I will always remember a very poignant moment during my high school years in which I had a great conversation with a lady who I babysit for and who grew to be a friend and mentor. When working with her and the kids one day, I asked simply "What does it take to get to heaven?" and her answer was a breath of fresh air: "Believe in God, repent for your sins, and treat others with love and respect." That's it? It seems almost too simple and not enough to be with our Lord for eternity. But the more I got to thinking about it, the more I realized life really is that simple and God really makes it that easy for us to be with Him. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that we are the ones who put the noise in our lives. The ones who let the daily stresses and tasks, society's expectations, the recent saga of Chris Brown and Rhianna, and the voices of our peers take precedent over the truth. Granted, the truth is different for every person because we all have individual needs and spirits but the process is same. It gets overwhelming, exhausting, and to the point of destruction oftentimes. And in today's readings, we are told it will be okay.
Truthfully, I did read the first reading and the first alternate of the Gospel for today but what really moved me was the second option for the Gospel. I remember taking a deep breath and thinking, "This is it. This is what we need to know." Jesus' words verified that we are meant to love each other and to be with God. It is so amazing and inspiring to know that when we follow His example, abide by His love, and let His spirit grace our presence, we are not alone. We are acting on the behalf of something greater; we are acting on the truth we all understand. No matter what our faith, religion, experience, or hope, it seems we are all working towards loving one another and hoping it is enough. This solidarity and unity in purpose is what personally keeps me going. To know we are innately good because we are made in His image and we all have a common purpose allows me to see and appreciate the good in others, the good in humanity as a whole.
When we act in this manner, and put others before ourselves, we are not testifying alone. Just as Jesus said His Father is everywhere and will always testify on His behalf, we can testify on each other's behalf. In sharing this purpose and working towards the same end, the means no longer matters. What matters is the support and love we give one another, the covenant we have for one another. So I have realized, especially lately, it really is this simple. It really is simple to take out of consideration the drama of someone's life, the different lifestyles, and the different ways of practicing faith because in the end, it is all the same love that makes the world go around. If there is one thing I could practice this Lent and for God to grace me with; that would be it. To stop judging others for meaningless issues and to take a step back and recognize the good in others. Essentially, I hope these 40 days can remind me of how simple God's mission is for me and in fact, as much as I pray, I already know it….now all I have to do is live it.