(Written in part for the children’s mass today.) Lent begins next Wednesday. Between now and then we should ask God what we should do for Lent. Do we want to give up something? Do we want to focus more on God this Lent? Is there some way to make Lent more meaningful? That is why we should think of Lent now and even prepare for it.
I know many will give up chocolate for Lent. I suppose if you really like chocolate that might be a hard thing to do. But if do not have chocolate every week or if you only have chocolate one day a week that is not all that difficult, is it? There are forty days of Lent. If you give up a chocolate bar every day, then you would have forty chocolate bars at the end of Lent. What would you do with all that chocolate? Eat it all on Easter Sunday? I think you would end up with a bad stomachache. Maybe you should take all that chocolate and give it to the food pantries so others can have chocolate? Or maybe instead of buying the chocolate bars you could take that money and donate it to the church or to a charity. That would help a lot more people.
There is one point to remember. What you give up for Lent is what you will get on Easter Sunday. Did you ever think of it that way? It is true. If you give up chocolate for Lent on Easter, you will get a chocolate bunny. If you give up cream in your coffee, you will get a latte for Easter. If you say you are going to give up something that you never eat anyway you will not get anything on Easter.
On the other hand, if you give up the time to read the gospel before mass every Sunday, this Lent you will learn about forgiveness and that Jesus was resurrected for your salvation. If you give up gossip and criticizing other people, you will find that those same people will treat you with respect and love. If you spend additional time reading the Bible, you will find yourself in a closer relationship with Jesus.
Lent works that way. What you give up is what you get on Easter Sunday.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen