40 Days plus 10

During Lent we were on pilgrimage with the chosen people as well as with Jesus in a desert wandering. We were called to look back, within and around to find where we may have wondered away from what is essential, that is, of the essence, of our relationship with God.

For the Hebrew People it was often a search to be freed from foreign domination or slavery. For Jesus the search was for understanding of identity and call. For us, as well, the 40 days of Lent is a pilgrimage with the elect, AKA the catechumens, to re-discover our identity as the “chosen” that are baptized and called to live beyond the slaveries of the world around us. Participating in the Triduum (i.e. The Lord’s Supper, The Lord’s Passion, and The Lord’s Resurrection) is the icing on the cake of the journey – the pilgrimage of Lent.

We’ve identified with Christ once more being served by him at his table that we might know how to serve others at our tables. We’ve died again to darkness with him. We’re raised from our fears once again to be light for the world. Easter-tide is another 40 day journey for us. But it’s not a journey anywhere “away,” “towards,” or “within” either. The 40 days of Easter (until Ascension Day) is a journey of Christ coming to us.

This week we’ve had the opportunity to read in the daily lectionary the accounts of the disciples, first the women than the men, to 1) encounter the empty tomb, 2) be encountered by the resurrected Jesus in our grief, 3) discover him sitting at our own table when we are confused and searching, and 4) discover Jesus resurrected and standing in the midst of the community. Each of these encounters elicited from the one touched by
Jesus to go and proclaim his presence to someone else who “knows”
Jesus, but whose faith is faltering.

These 40 days of being encountered by Jesus challenge us to enter into the mystery of our own lives where Christ dwells. These 40 days call us to stand fast within the community of the initiated and share faith and encounters with him in our here and now.

When we come to the Ascension, we will be called to enter a retreat, similar to the retreat of Holy Week. The post-Ascension retreat invites us to know (saber) the centrality of Jesus’ way of life so we can come to know (conocer) the vision and commitment that ignites in us with the grace of the Spirit of God when the breath of God is breathed into us.

Jesus’ teaching in his 3 years mentors the disciples to action. The coming of the Spirit of God to those whose eyes are opened and whose ears are tuned in, empower us to move in a similar way. We are called to walk gently; to act justly; to be compassionate with all who we come to know on the way.

How was the first 40 day pilgrimage? Ready for another?

fr. Charles


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