Someone was asking that question at our supper table the other night. Lent begins Ash Wednesday. The supper table is a good place to ask the question, because Lent is about renewing ourselves as we are and where we live. The supper table stands for life here and now.
The supper table is the place where we face those closest to us. Doing something for Lent has to mean doing something for them, first of all, the people across the table–or maybe those who have left our table. One of our scripture readings early on in Lent says: “Don’t turn your back on your own.” Renewing our relationship with those closest to us is one of the most important steps to renewing ourselves.
Besides the supper table, I guess we should also ask that question “What am I going to do for Lent?” in the place where I work, or where I go to school. Don’t turn your back on them either.
Lent is for renewing ourselves as we are, in real life and real time. It isn’t about changing us into different people or changing the world we live in or leaving for Mars.
The scriptures read on Ash Wednesday tell us to pray, to fast and give alms. What am I going to do for Lent? How about praying everyday? How about fasting from my own hard opinions of others? How about thinking about others and not just myself?
What am I going to do for Lent? I hope I can get closer to God, and that means for me to get closer to Jesus Christ. He says in this Sunday’s gospel that it’s possible to think we know him, but don’t know him. Where should I begin? Let me look in the scriptures, especially the scriptures we read during Lent.
Pope Benedict’s “Jesus of Nazareth” part 2 where he looks long and hard at the story of the Passion of Jesus is due out this week. I’m going to read it. Maybe that will help.
One thing we shouldn’t forget when we ask that question “What am I going to do for Lent?” is another question: “What is God going to do for us during Lent?” It’s a time of God’s grace, more than we can hope for, beyond what we could possibly earn. The great sign of God’s limitless giving is the Passion of his Son, a wondrous gift.