Lent Week 1—Monday
Psalm 52 Genesis 37:1-11 1 Cor 1:1-19 Mark 1:3
What is Lent all about, anyway? Why do we give up our pleasures, and why do we take on new burdens? What should I expect to get out of it, besides a twitch every time I pass over a beckoning bag of M&M’s.
Our Gospel reading today sums it up quite beautifully, and puts our task in perspective. In the Lenten season, we are to follow in the footsteps of John the Baptizer.
Why? Because his whole life was Lenten.
John was Jesus’s cousin, and he had a job to do. He was sent by God to prepare the way for Christ, and he gave his life to do it. In Lent, we are preparing the way for Christ in our own hearts and minds, until we see him in the Easter Celebration. We ready ourselves as John readied the people of his day, so in our Lenten practice we would do well to emulate him.
But how did John prepare the way for Christ?
Through self-denial. He spent his life living as a wild man on the fringes of society. He wore wild clothes and ate wild food — his was not an enviable life. My giving up M&M’s pales in comparison to his life of less-than.
But his self-denial isn’t the whole story, and it won’t be ours either. John took upon himself the task of speaking the truth, even when it put him in danger. He called God’s people to renew their commitment to God’s law, and turn from their old ways.
By his Lenten life, he fulfilled his mandate. Now, we have the opportunity to take on the same call and let it guide our practice, from now until the Resurrection:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” St. Mark’s EYC