Today’s Gospel is, IMHO, such a key summary of Jesus’ teaching, and also includes some of the most challenging exhortations for me to follow. “Love your enemies, give to everyone, stop judging, forgive…” Part of what makes these challenges so compelling, I think, is the clear evidence that Jesus really practiced what he preached.
It seems to me that a good way to move into Lent this year is to ask myself how I am doing with each of the challenges from that Gospel reading.
I’ve learned that if I can focus more on God’s desire for me and less on beating myself up for the ways I fall short, I won’t feel as much need to hate, hoard, judge, resent, etc. Somehow, really tuning in to the immensity of God’s love for me, makes all that petty stuff seem, well… petty.
So while Lent isn’t necessarily my favorite time of the liturgical year, it really is a gift and an invitation to follow Jesus more closely and to shed the accumulation of all the petty stuff that builds up while I’m busy going through life, just trying to keep my head above water.