How is it Lent already?!
Man, 2020 is really flying by. Am I the only one who feels like Christmas was yesterday? This is wild! But Lent is here, whether we realize it or not. This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting, prayer, and penance. Lent can be a bit overwhelming for Catholics, as we're inundated with devotionals, suggestions, ideas, and programs to encourage spiritual awakening. That's why I love our parish theme for Lent this year: #pickonething!
I spent this past weekend in State College, Pennsylvania. While I was there, I attended mass at Our Lady of Victory Church, and the homily really stuck with me. The priest was talking about how Lent was fast approaching, and he kind of called the congregation out! I sometimes like when priests make us a bit uncomfortable during their homilies, because it's really easy to get complacent and "cozy" in our faith. But Christ Himself told us that it wasn't going to be a cakewalk!
Heck, just look at the 12 Apostles. Do you know how many of them died from natural causes? ONE (it was John, in case you're wondering)! The rest were martyred, many in cruel and painful ways. That's not necessarily what we should expect, but the point is that Catholicism and discipleship are not just there to make us "feel good." In fact, they often do just the opposite! This is the point that the priest in Pennsylvania was trying to make.
He spoke about "efficiency." His basic point was that while most of us would be THRILLED at reaching 99% efficiency in our jobs and daily lives, there are many companies that would fall apart at 99% efficiency. For example, what if 99% of babies born in hospitals were sent home with their correct parents? Or 99% of patients were given the correct prescriptions? Or if we obeyed 99% of red lights while driving? The point is, 99% often isn't good enough.
So if even 99% isn't always good enough, why do we settle for 75% Catholicism? Trust me, I've done this before. "I know I need to work on this one thing, but I'm good in all these other areas, so God will let it slide, right?" WRONG! God doesn't ask us to be 50% or 75% or even 99% devoted to Him. He wants ALL of us, and Lent is the perfect time to put that into action.