Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring Fever for Jesus

The word “Lent” comes from the old English word for “Spring”. Just as nature is shaking off the cold, sleepy winter so we are awakening from the dark night of sin. Just as nature is beginning to bud forth with the green, leafy life of Spring, so the new life of grace breaks forth in our hearts. Lent is a time to embrace and celebrate the freedom from sin offered to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

We have suffered through a brutally cold winter in the Northeast. It has been just in the past week that all the snow has finally melted away. Now, all the destruction of winter is in plain sight. The streets are full of sand left behind by the plow trucks. Uncleared leaves from the Fall cling to the grills of the storm drains. Our lawns are littered with broken branches, newspapers, cans and other trash carried by the wind. It is time to spruce up our yards in preparation for the budding trees and blooming flowers. Our houses need a good spring cleaning after being closed up tight against the cold all winter. We need to open the windows to let in the fresh, spring air. So our hearts need to be swept clean of all the debris of sin so that they may become fresh dwelling places for the Holy Spirit.

Lent is the time when new Christians prepare for baptism through penance, prayer and instruction in the faith. For those who are already baptized, it is an invitation to return to the springtime of our faith, when it all seemed so new and exciting. We are called through prayer and penance to fall in love with Jesus again, to catch a spring fever for the Lord and to live our faith with renewed commitment and joy in preparation for the renewal of our baptismal vows on Easter.

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