Some of us at the monastery are studying the Gospel of Mark. Mark calls it the “Good News Gospel of Jesus Christ”. As we learn that Mark was writing to a people who were being persecuted for their faith we realize how important it was for them to be rooted firmly in that faith and to know Jesus personally. Only then could they understand that the “good news” means that we are saved from death. After this life – there is still life for us! It is a life free from persecution, pain and suffering. And this is ours, given by God who loves us unconditionally!
Most of us have heard these things all our lives. But have we really heard them?
As we enter into this season of lent we are presented with an opportunity to ponder what this “good news” means for us today. Many people live in a world of fear – fear of violence and physical harm, emotional abuse and worry about what the future holds. The words “deportation” and “racism” bring new levels of fear and anxiety. The media is especially good at keeping the negative emotions stirred up.
The good news of Jesus does not tell us that these difficult things will go away but that we are not alone in facing them. When we say we feel all alone, God’s response is “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). When we say I am afraid, God’s response is “I have not given you a spirit of fear” (II Tim. 1:7). So if God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear why is it that we have it?
In a daily meditation book called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, we are reminded to keep our focus on Christ and his presence with us. This helps us to be grateful for our many blessings even as we face great trials, and gratefulness blocks out fear. Lent then can be a time to focus our lives on Christ, mindful of God’s mercy and forgiveness. Our Lenten resolutions can be ones that lead us to understand more deeply the good news of Jesus Christ and lead us to live in a spirit of gratitude. We then can listen to what RESPONSE God is asking us to make in this time of uncertainty. How are we being called to be neighbor to those around us who feel threatened?
We here at the monastery keep you all in our prayers, that you may know that you are loved by God, called by God and supported by God in this journey. So then Easter will be celebrated with great joy and thanksgiving. Peace and Easter blessings to all of you. Sr. Eileen