Oh, man! admire and model thyself after the whale! Do thou, too, remain warm among ice. Do thou, too, live in this world without being of it. Be cool at the equator; keep thy blood fluid at the Pole. Like the great dome of St. Peter’s, and like the great whale, retain, O man! in all seasons a temperature of thine own.”
― Herman Melville (Moby-Dick)
You can find the 1st Sunday of Lent cycle A readings here.
Surfers, if you are interested in better scripture readings, in this season of preparation, you can find those 1st Sunday of Lent readings here.
You are undoubtedly aware that Lent is a time of preparation. We are preparing for Easter. The trappings of Lent involve all manner of activities, such as fasting, but all break down to faith renewal by praying on the passion and death of Jesus. We are taught that “Lent should be seen as a period of preparation for the celebration of Christ’s victory over death.” The tradition of renewal of our faith typically involves fasting and giving up something we enjoy as penance. My children ask me “what are you giving up for Lent, Dad?.” I am certain you have heard this question many times also. This notion of giving up something at Lent is so pervasive somebody provided a list of 101 things to give up. I believe this list to be a joke so I am not a advocating that people draw from this list, unless you see something there that strikes your fancy.
In all seriousness, I would like to propose an alternative way to prepare for the celebration of Easter. I received a copy of John Powell’s book Fully Human Fully Alive in 1981. I had not quite turned 20 years old and I had much to learn. When you are given a book, as opposed to purchasing it yourself, the desire to read it can be quite low. The person who gave me the book was someone I respected and the book was thin so I read it and I have never forgotten the message. Perhaps the thickness of the book played a bigger role in my decision to read it, but I would like you to consider reading it this Lent and knowing it is not a tome may appeal to you.
Strange as it is to say, one of the greatest evangelists in the New Testament is Pontius Pilate. Presenting the scourged Jesus to the crowds, he says, “Behold the man.” In the delicious irony of John’s Gospel, Pilate is unwittingly drawing attention to the fact that Jesus, completely acquiescent to the will of his Father, even to the point of accepting torture and death, is in fact “the man,” humanity at its fullest and most free.
– Fr. Robert Barron
In John’s Gospel Jesus is quoted as saying “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” As a result, in the celebration of Easter we should be focused on being fully human and living a full life. There is no better way to honor the life Jesus lived than to live our life to the fullest. In his book John Powell offers us what he calls the five essential steps to the fullness of life. This could be our Lenten roadmap for our journey to Easter. You must first accept yourself. Second you must be yourself. Third you must forget yourself in loving. Fourth you must believe, and lastly you must belong. You will have to read the book to understand these steps fully.
Jesus was extraordinary because of how he lived, not died
– John Dominic Crossan
There will be much talk about the crucifixion and the death of Jesus this Lent. Try to think about how Jesus lived rather than died as we go through these 40 days.
If you take away one thing from this homily it should be to use this Lenten season to prepare for your extraordinary life. John Powell tells us that “we must learn to go out of ourselves into genuine love relationships.” My wish for you this Lent is a commitment to awareness, growth, interpersonal communications and desire to be fully human and fully alive. Meditate on the five steps this Lent and make this your preparation for Easter.