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  • Deacon Dan Wright serves the Diocese of Austin, Texas. His work outside the parish is as a special education teacher serving students with significant cognitive disabilities.

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  • Family activities, spirituality, liturgy, Christian apologetics, social justice topics, special education issues, and promoting the peace and unity of the human family.
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Love in the Season of Lent

We enter the first Sunday of the 40 days of Lent considering the depth and meaning of the Lenten experience at this time in our lives. We look for spiritual purpose and reconciliation. Our practice of observing Lent varies from person to person. To be frank, I never cared that much myself for the penitential aspect of Lent, but it holds value in the overall scheme for us because Lent leads us to the Cross. No greater love has one than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. As a jumping off point for our first Sunday of Lent, I’d like us to consider the somewhat unusual theme of love during the season of Lent. Think of it as a belated gift from our Ash Wednesday Valentine’s Day.

The antiphon for the psalm for today reads, “Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant,” and in the text of the psalm itself we see, “Remember that your compassion, O Lord, and your love are from of old.” If I were to make a goal of Lent personally, rather than giving up something, I might consider the value that exists in exploring the terrain of God’s infinite love for us… Certainly, it is a rich field of experience when we consider it.

In the first reading God establishes an everlasting covenant with Noah and his descendants that never again will there be a flood of the magnitude that had occurred. From the depths of an act of punishment, 40 days of relentless torrential flooding, that is, from a penitential experience, springs forth love: a love that was immanent from the beginning but made manifest by the salvation of a remnant of humankind—just eight souls. I can imagine hearing the voice of the Spirit say, “I have set my bow in the clouds as a sign of my great love for you.” We also see the covenant as being between God and the Earth, which shows us the love God has for creation, an ever-present reminder of the call to environmental stewardship.

St. Peter reminds us in his first epistle that the flood of Noah was a sign of a much greater saving event, one that destroys sin and regenerates the human soul; one that washes us clean in the waters of eternal charity. God gives us life, in an act of pouring out divinity into the cup of humanity, in the waters of baptism. So, on this first Sunday we consider our calling, a calling to live out our baptismal promises and pour out that with which we have been so abundantly filled.

Lent serves as a reminder of love as a journey of faithfulness and truth. Its a time for reflection, repentance, and drawing closer to God’s love and truth; it’s an opportunity to live out that which has been given to us by embracing others with the same gift we have received. We put love into actions and we call it the praxis of faith. It’s a beautiful lesson that extends to all times of the year, not just here in our Lenten season. 

Take Lent as a time of year to reach out to someone in a positive way, give more of yourself when it comes to kindness and generosity. But also remember that we have a great calling to establish justice on Earth, to rebuild it, and to establish a world where we freely share the things we need.

What we are called to do and who we are called to be are not easy tasks by any means, but we count on help, spiritual help from God and from our fellows. It might be something as small as a smile or friendly glance. There are abundant temptations in our world. The greatest is the temptation to despair. Love is such that it has the power to conquer despair, but often we fail. This too we consider in the Lenten journey; again, it is a path of reconciliation as well. 

Jesus entered a world of temptation, compelled by the Spirit, he fasted in the desert for 40 days. The narrative showcases his steadfast love and commitment to God’s will. Jesus’ refusal to succumb to temptation is not just a rejection of sin but rather it affirms his deep love for humanity and his commitment to fulfill the purpose for which he came into our world. His love is sacrificial, it leads to the Way of the Cross by which we follow his steps and see him stripped bare and humiliated. His is a love willing to endure death for us.

In Lent we receive a call to recognize God’s enduring love in our lives, and to respond by living in accordance with the covenant, grounded in love and truth. We are reminded this weekend that one does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. God’s ways are indeed love and truth to those who keep the covenant.


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