The reflection below is reprinted from an entry posted on March 24 on the blog A Franciscan Journey. In it, Kevin Mackin, OFM, describes the importance of living life in relationship with God here and beyond
GPS apps are a splendid way to navigate and to route around obstacles. It’s a powerful spiritual metaphor. We have a “voice” to guide us: our conscience, informed by the Bible, the guidance of the church, and the wise counsel of holy women and men.
As I have learned to trust the GPS electronic voice while driving, so I need to learn to trust my informed conscience, as I navigate to my ultimate goal: eternal life with God.
Sunday’s word of God carries us back to a defining moment. Moses experiences the awesome presence of God in the image of “fire flaming out of a bush.” God reveals himself as the creator of this universe: “I am the one who causes to be all that is,” as one biblical author translated this mysterious phrase. And then God empowers Moses to free the Hebrews from their oppressors.
St. Paul, in his letter to the Christian community in Corinth, compares the Hebrew Exodus experience to our baptismal experience; just as God was a rock in the wilderness, out of which flowed life-giving waters, so too Christ is our rock, from whom comes our salvation, eternal life.
In the Gospel according to Luke, Jesus deals with the question of evil. There is, of course, no satisfactory answer. Why mindless killings in New Zealand, why so many people suffering violence? Evil is ultimately a mystery.
And then Jesus speaks about a barren tree. The point of the parable: yes, God is patient, but God will hold each of us accountable for our life, our attitudes, and our behaviors. Jesus urges us to repent now, to turn to a God-centered/other-centered life. Yes, live in light of your ultimate purpose, living in relationship with God here and beyond.
Often people live in the future. Some imagine, My life will begin when I get a new job when I rebuild my home, etc. Life will begin in the future? Naomi Levy, in her book Hope Will Find You, wondered, while caring for her critically ill daughter, when could she realize her dreams and goals. She wrote: “… just then something snapped inside my soul:…all of us have to learn to live inside the imperfect lives we have here and now.”
Lent is a time to re-assess our lives again, to decide what we believe to be truly important, and then act on these priorities now.
Our Christian faith proclaims that life has meaning, that there is indeed an all-good, compassionate, and merciful God who seeks us out in our everyday experiences. This God became incarnate in Jesus, and renewed God’s covenant with us through his death/resurrection and thereby opened up to us life beyond this earthly life. This same God is alive among us today by the power of the Spirit.
We can participate in God’s triune life: by regular prayer, by fasting from attitudes and behaviors that jeopardize our relationship with God and one another, and by living a life of generous service.
— Fr. Kevin, former president of Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y., and Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., lives at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla. The previous reflection published in HNP Today, titled “Reflecting on the Meaning of Lent,” was written by George Corrigan, OFM.
Editor’s note: Friars interested in writing a reflection for HNP Today on a timely topic — a holiday, current event, holy day, or other seasonal themes – are invited to contact the HNP Communications Office at email@example.com. Additional reflections by friars can be found in the Spiritual Resources page of HNP.org.