As we begin our journey through the Season of Lent, at times we see our humanity as frail and helpless, particularly with news of sad events occurring within our own family and friends or what we hear and see through the media. In Luke’s gospel we can reflect on how Lent can be a time for entering into the “wilderness” or “desert place” and grappling with the mysteries of life. Human retreat to the wilderness can be an opportunity to encounter God in the unfamiliar and to understand oneself in relation to God. It can reveal to us our capacities for right relationship with God, with each other, and with the Earth.
Adelaide priest, Fr Michael Trainor, in a wonderfully sensitive reading of Luke’s gospel, detects three ecological ethical principles in Luke’s gospel reading: 1) Earth is to be cared for and treated respectfully, not ravaged through greed; 2) All ecological and environmental engagement is grounded in and enhanced by one’s communion with God; and 3) Earth’s resources are to be respected by all and not usurped as a means of power and control by one over another.
In this time of Lent we often consider what we can offer up as a sacrifice – but Lent is not about giving up favourite foods (e.g. mine - chocolate!) or favourite activities, it’s about living more deeply and committed to others – it’s about us making more time for those people whom we love (e.g. think about leaving work a little earlier to be home with family), being more generous in our relationships with others in need, or to families and friends who need our help and support.
Lent is about us responding to God’s call to reach out to others whether they are our family, friends or those suffering - in a gesture of generosity.