“Reading the Gospels, there are many times we might wince at something one of the Twelve says or does. . . . We’re meant to see something of ourselves here—like these disciples, we often miss the boat with Jesus, even after so many years of living with him! Jesus’ response is instructive: he is gentle in offering his correction and he doesn’t walk away from these Twelve to start over with a new group. Jesus doesn’t need our perfection, he only asks for our faithfulness.”
– Reflection based on Matthew 20:17-28 by Father Richard G. Smith, published for March 23 in Magnificat’s 2011 Lenten Companion
Sometimes I wish I could get a report card from God, a real, tangible thing that would let me know what I’m doing well, where I’m failing, where I need further improvement. Being honest and truly reflecting on my thoughts, my words, my actions, my habits, is a challenge, and one from which my mind easily strays. Often the things I struggle with seem trivial when considered one at a time, but when I think of them together, the whole can be astounding. How many times have I turned from God? How many ways have I chosen myself and my own comfort over helping another? Sometimes I wish I could just hit “reset” and start over.
With its focus on penance, Lent is a blessed time to remember that, in a way, Jesus wants the same for me. Yes, He needs me to admit my faults and honestly seek forgiveness, but His mercy is so tremendous that once I begin to seek it, I am showered with it. It is easy when reflecting during Lent, or perhaps in preparation for Confession any time of year, to think that I am beyond forgiveness. But God knows me better than I know myself, and He knows I am important, worthwhile, and ultimately, a part of His plan.
As we enter the Triduum, these last few days before Easter, let’s remember that we don’t have to have all the answers. In fact, we only need one answer: “Yes.” Yes to love, yes to mercy, yes to forgiveness, yes to grace. Yes to the sacrifices of Lent, and yes to the coming glory of the resurrection!