February 5, 2017
“Your word is lamp for my feet, a light for my path” (Ps. 119:105).
A farmer who anticipates a planting season prepares by studying how to have a productive harvest. Like the farmer who prepares for his harvest we too are encouraged to prepare ourselves for the season of Lent. To prepare for Lent set aside some time in the coming weeks to read sacred scripture, to reflect His Word as we await our encounter with God’s love.
In his book
The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic Matthew Kelly says that the Bible offers “a blueprint for happiness, it lays out a map of how we should live our lives and it helps us to know the heart of God and his incredible dreams for us.” He notes that the bible tells us how to listen to the voice of God in our own lives.
This year our Sunday Gospel readings come from Matthew. In preparation for Lent consider reading this first book in the New Testament. Matthew’s gospel speaks of Jesus’s life, The Beatitudes, about almsgiving, the parable of the lost sheep, the greatest commandment and his resurrection, to name a few subjects. If you read about one chapter every day from now through Ash Wednesday, you will complete the book.
As you read each chapter begin by taking a moment to pray. Ask God to help you stay focused on your daily reading and how ask him to help you recognize how he is speaking to you. When you are finished reading a chapter take a moment to meditate, talk to God about what you read and how the scripture applies to what you are currently experiencing.
Matthew’s gospel calls us to a life of discipleship and what it means to follow Jesus. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in a 1992 pastoral letter on stewardship wrote, “Jesus does not waste time proposing lofty but unrealistic ideals; he tells his followers how they are expected to live.” The Beatitudes in Matt. 5: 3-12 explain the laws of Jesus, life as Christian disciples and our call to bring forth the kingdom of God.
As we prepare for Lent which invites us to prayer, worship, and sacrifice let us put our hearts in order to answer God’s call of a life as a steward of God’s word. Let us ask the Lord to send the Holy Spirit to strengthen us, to help us remain his faithful servants; so that as we follow him we can follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
“Lord, give us time today to be silent and prayerful, conscious of your personal presence, moment by moment, sustaining us in all our experiences and relationships. Call us to new decisions for faithfulness and generosity, and whenever you call us by name we reply, “Speak, Lord for your servant is listening. Amen (Father John Conley, CSC).