Book of the Prophet Joel, Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17,
Second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians, & Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
When asked, “who are we?” Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk, mystic, and theologian, replied, “We are children of God knit together by God in our mother’s wombs.” He added, “Our goal on this planet is to become the person God dreamed us to be when He created us.”
Friends, in today’s second reading, Saint Paul presents the ideal Christian dramatically as well. He said, “We are ambassadors for Christ.” There is no greater vocation.
Lent is the season of the Church Year that invites us to look deep inside ourselves and ask how well we are living our lives as “Christ’s ambassadors.” In our Gospel narrative, Jesus invites us to be very specific in naming obstacles that block us from reflecting this identity.
Our Lord suggests we pay special attention to three areas. We all know what they are; praying, fasting, and alms-giving. Perhaps prayer is most important. Are we in daily communion with Christ through prayer? Praying enables Christ’s presence to shine through us and become “His ambassadors” in the world. If not, how can we adjust our lives to include daily prayer? The second is fasting. Are we overly indulgent in eating and drinking so much so that it obscures Christ’s presence in our lives? Lastly, is alms-giving. How do we gauge our generosity to others? Do we live selflessly? Are we living primarily for the service of God and our neighbor, or are we self-centered and focused mainly on enhancing our wealth and reputations?
Today, we remember that Lent should be a season of joy and not a burden. Additionally, it doesn’t have to begin and end in forty days. Our obligation as Christ’s ambassadors should continue throughout the year.
Question of the Day: How will you challenge yourself to the fullest during Lent?
Prayer: Lord, as we begin our Lenten journey, may we strive to become more fully Your ambassadors as we pray for a renewal of Christian joy in our lives. Amen.