|Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor|
Quote of the Week: “Our true life lies at a great depth within us” — Tagore.
The language of numbers in the Bible is a language of significances.
The number 40 was used to signify a very long time. For Jews to wander in the desert was one thing, but to wander for 40 years was quite another.
For Jesus to go out into the desert without food or water for three days would have been a real test, but for 40 days and nights it was clearly significant.
With great effort, 40 was a reachable number, but not for all.
For someone in the days of Jesus to live for 40 years was quite an accomplishment. It would probably be equivalent to living for 90 years today.
But add to that, Jesus was without food and water, and weak, alone, uncomforted and without support for 40 days — a long time!
It was at this precise moment that he was tempted. It was also at this precise moment that he needed to depend on grace, spirit, faith and trust to get him through it.
When things are easy and we believe, that is not so significant. When things are a mess, and we are pressured in every way, it is then that being faithful and believing means a lot. For this reason we, the church, go on this journey together.
We are not alone. We join all of our brothers and sisters in faith. We can count on over a billion people on this planet, having been marked by a cross of ashes on our forehead, to walk together as we do something different during these 40 days to let God in, to let him love us, call us, heal us, redirect us, renew us.
If I were forced to pick one expression that best summed up the spirit of Lent it would be: “Renew us, Lord!”
This is a time of grace and love. This is a time not of being alone in the desert. Quite the contrary, this is a time of allowing God to be so present — so totally present — that our lives will be made new through his love.
This is God’s time. This is a time of grace.
Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112.