That’s why we need Lent

The relationship between God and the Chosen People is a tumultuous one, as far as the Sacred Scriptures attest. How many covenants he made with them, very solemnly ‘signed and sealed’, which still ended up in the rubbish bin, so to say!

Always because they did not keep their part of the agreement. So, God became angry as anyone would, the authors of the sacred pages reckoned as they recorded how the people told their story, the story of God and them. He would turn his back for a bit and then relent, turning back to them as they to him. And then something beautiful would happen, like the rainbow in today’s first reading.

Time for a new covenant, a new agreement made in hope. Only to be broken again. And on and on the story goes. Very human, this relationship.

They will not ‘break’ my son if I sent him to them as my new covenant to finally convince them how much I love them. That was how Jesus told the story in Mark 12:6, remember? And what did we do?

It’s sad. It makes one cringe. Because we know we are at fault every time it happens. Only this time the covenant was eternal, never to be chucked into the bin to make way for a new one later when temperatures have cooled down. And that is what makes it worse, because even for this one we don’t have the least bit of respect. Mostly anyway.

That’s why we need Lent. With all its discipline.

Ash Wednesday feels like the start of a New Year with resolutions and all. I’m going to give this up and take that on. Chocolate and sweets, meat and alcohol, swearing and being disobedient, lying and what not. Pray every day, go to Mass more, give to ‘the less fortunate’, feed those who come the soup kitchen, help old ladies across the road. All of it listed neatly in our minds as we receive the ashes on our foreheads. Fourteen days later, or what is the average number of days for keeping New Year’s resolutions, we blow them too.

And still, God comes back to us, every single time, just like he did with the chosen. It blows the mind every time one thinks about it.

That’s why we need Lent. With all its graces and all its blessings.

To really see God in all his beauty, like in that first reading rainbow. To think about this whole to and fro, as if we are testing him, pushing the boundaries again and again. Just like children with their parents.

Because Lent helps us see ourselves for what we really are and really do. It makes us see God as he really is, face to face with the Father of mercies.

We know, deep down, that this is really gospel. And how we need to hear good news, real good news! Maybe we will repent, this time, and believe. God help us!