Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator
In Greek there are two words that we would translate as "time" in English. The first is "chronos"; the second is "kairos." St. Paul uses the second of these words in his second Letter to the Corinthians from which we read today. We measure time with chronometers. The meaning of "kairos," however, is heavily nuanced as a time of opportunity or even a time of crisis. So St. Paul tells us: Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2).
Paul's message is simple. This is not the time for procrastination. This is the time of opportunity for us, a time to "return" to the Lord as the Prophet Joel says in the today's first reading. Unfortunately, many of us have a habit of putting that off until a later time. Sadly, time will run out for us one day.
Part of our CUSAN charism is our desire to make a sacrificial offering of our suffering and frustration. We have heard so many times, especially in our youth, that we are called upon to "offer it up." Sacrificial offerings have at their very foundation an element of praise. We praise God and give thanks for God's providential care by placing a gift on the altar of sacrifice. However, another category of sacrificial offering is that of the "sin offering." We atone for our sins by offering up something that is dear to us.
The Gospel today gives us a threefold charter of sacrifice: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Through each of these we are called to draw closer to the Lord. We pray or communicate with our God. We fast to remind ourselves that God is enough for us. We share our bounty with those less fortunate to remind ourselves of how much God has done for us and to ease the pain and suffering of the poor.
Lent, which comes from the German "Lenz," means springtime. As we watch our environment "green up" during spring, may our Lenten devotion lead us to a springtime of the soul, new life with God.