By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me."
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
"This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
(1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
We have embarked together on another Lenten journey. As the boat leaves the shore, I can still see the silhouettes of what has been left behind. Looking ahead I see the open water, and maybe some dark clouds in the distance. The clouds are still far though, and the anticipation of what is to come fills me with excitement and maybe a little fear. Thinking I might have forgotten something, I go over the things I’ve packed for the journey: sacrifices to offer during Lent (fasting), new or renewed devotionals (prayer), commitments to serve my brothers and sisters (almsgiving). Check, check and check. I look around and see my fellow travelers busily looking through their own luggage and checking their schedules for all the wonderful opportunities available to grow during this journey. Everyone seems too busy to notice the dark clouds ahead, and I wonder if we are truly ready for what lies ahead.
I think it is human nature to forget the “bad stuff” and focus on the good. Each year, when we celebrate Easter, the difficulties of Lent melt away. When my son was born, the pain and difficulties during the pregnancy and labor melted away as I saw this miracle in my arms. But now that he is a teenager, I remind him every now and then of all the sacrifices we made so that he could be born. I do not do this to make him feel bad. On the contrary, I do it to make him feel loved. When I shared with him how my life was at risk during the pregnancy, and how we rearranged our whole lives so he could have a chance to live, he looked at me and said, “I was loved before I was born.” And I told him, “Yes you were my love.” This is what Lent is about. We remember how much God loves us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).
I guess we are not ready yet, and that is precisely the point of the journey. Our Church invites us on this journey of growth and preparation. The path through Calvary is narrow, and, in order to make it through, we will need to let go of some of the things we are holding on to. Are we holding on to resentment, anger, or unforgiveness? Are we holding on to fear? Ask God to show you what extra baggage He wants you to get rid of; to show you what is keeping you from running to His love. And then, once He shows you, just let it go. Give it all to Him and watch how it all gets burned away in His love and transformed in His hands. “Do this in Remembrance of Me.”