Another Lenten season has begun. We might be tempted to be ho hum about it. Been there. Done that. But we have never experienced this Lent before. We are not where we were a year ago. Things have changed: births, deaths, losses, gains, moves, economic realities, a whole litany of different things.
The focus and purpose of Lent is always the same. It is summarized in one crisp sentence in the introduction to the Roman Missal: “Lent is ordered to preparing for the celebration of Easter, since the Lenten liturgy prepares for celebration of the Paschal Mystery both catechumens, by the various stages of Christian Initiation, and the faithful, who recall their own Baptism and do penance” (n. 27). It is a time to go deeper into what it means to be a baptized person today; it is a time of renewal and repentance.
“The Word is near you,” St. Paul reminds us today. We live by every Word that comes from the mouth of God. This is what sustained Jesus during his forty days in the desert. The same Word of God sustains us this Lent. Given all that has happened in our lives this past year, may the Word of God sustain us, lead us, renew us.