By Father Andrew Kelly
Lent begins Wednesday Feb. 22, 2012. Ashes are smeared with the words: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 2:1-12) speaks of the need for Lent. There is living faith within the community exemplified by the four people who made sure a paralyzed person was laid at Jesus’ feet:
“When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’”
But the community also knows it is paralyzed, maybe even close to death. On Ash Wednesday the community recommits itself to the disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These disciplines slowly open the paralyzed soul to hear Jesus’ Gospel of God’s healing risen presence.
Easter Sunday the paralyzed community’s soul hears the good news of God (Mark 16:1-7): “But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here.’”
Sunday’s Gospel is Jesus’ Easter words: “‘…I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.’ And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them…”
Lenten prayer, fasting and alms slowly make ready the paralyzed soul for Easter.
(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)