Scripture Reflection - February 18, 2018

First Sunday of Lent

Are you called to be among wild beasts? YES

Our Lenten Journey has begun! And the question is… will you allow yourself to be among the wild beasts? Jesus went into his desert not to face or fight or conquer the wild beasts but to be among them… will you allow yourself to be among the wild beasts during this Lent?

We who live civilized lives have no clue what it means to be among wild beasts. Or do we? For us, the wild beasts are within us or between us or around us as hatred, shame, anger, blame, violence, fear, isolation, greed, envy, and so many other chronic responses to life and people. So…yes, you are called to be among the wild beasts to recognize… the terrible need within us that drives them, the insatiable hunger in us that pushes them, and the absurd belief that we are not enough sustains the life of these modern-day beasts.

The thing about being in the presence of wild beasts is there is no room for anything else. We focus on the wild beasts to keep ourselves safe. We end up giving nearly 100% of ourselves to them. “Them” being, for us, the internal beasts of hatred, shame, anger, blame, violence, fear, isolation, greed, envy, and so many other chronic responses to life and people.

This Lent, be among your wild beasts as Jesus was among his internal beasts and the real ones that were part of his lived experience. Go out into your personal and communal deserts to meet yourselves and to see the distance we have created within our selves, our communities, our God. We are called to be among the wild beasts so that we can be healed of them so that we can choose once again the life of freedom and focus that God offers us. Go out into the desert to deepen and widen your intimate relationship with God. Go out into the desert to be healed of broken relationships. Go out among the wild beasts to be taught how to be healer and preacher of love and hope in our struggling society.

The joy of this invitation is that we journey among the wild beasts in the sure and steady presence of God’s love expressed through the person of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is God who calls us into the desert, who helps us to stand steady in the presence of our personal wild beasts, who leads us to healing and wholeness of person and community, and celebrates the wonder of a life turned toward God and all the goodness expressed as you and me, God’s beautiful creatures!

“This is the time of fulfillment. The kindom is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

Pray. Seek. Be led and taught. Embrace healing and transformation. These are the gifts awaiting you this Lent!

Sister Didi Madden, O.P.

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