Lent: a time to put God first

Sunday, March 19, 2023

READINGS: EZ 37:12-14; PS 130:1-8; ROM 8:8-11; JN 11:1-45

At this point in our Lenten journey, it is tempting to grow weary of the spiritual disciplines we have taken on. Today’s readings inspire us to remain faithful, in grateful response to a God who loves us so much.

In our first reading, the prophet Ezekiel speaks God’s own words to us. “I will put my spirit in you that you may live… I have promised and I will do it, says the Lord.” Our God wants to be so closely united to us that we are one with Him. And He has promised He will do it. But only if we make room for Him by making Him the priority of our lives. Putting God first is a grateful response that is very pleasing to Him.

How can we do this? Our second reading, from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans, tells us. “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh… you are in the spirit if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.”

The disciplines of Lent and living as faithful Catholic Christians are wonderful gifts that free us from too great an attachment to “the flesh.” The sacrifices we make as Catholic Christians are not meant to restrict our freedom and joy. Quite the contrary. They are tools to help us find the real freedom and joy that only come when we make room in our lives for God.

As we journey closer to the Passion of our Lord (next weekend), let us intensify our Lenten resolutions and our commitment as Catholics, inviting the Holy Spirit to take over more and more of our lives. By Easter Sunday, we will be freer to rejoice in Him and truly be pleasing to God.