REFLECTION FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT 2013 by Cathy Goretsky
The Third Week of Lent already? Time is flying by and it’s easy to get discouraged and give up if we have failed in our planned Lenten discipline. God is the One Who believes in second chances, so I would like to repeat something our young Pastor said at Mass this morning…….Sometimes we need to allow ourselves a second or even a third chance before giving up. Be encouraged! Feel free to print, share, talk about, respond to…..this and any of my writings. They are meant to be shared.
REFLECTION FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT 2013
This week in Florida the script for a horror movie became reality for a family in the Tampa area. Jeff Bush had already gone to sleep for the night, but the rest of his family was still awake. His brother heard Jeff screaming and ran to his bedroom only to see that a giant sinkhole had opened up directly under the bed where Jeff had been sleeping. His bed and the bedroom furniture quickly sank into the hole and Jeff right along with his bed. Jeff’s brother saw only the corner of a mattress sticking up out of the hole, but that was quickly sinking. He climbed into the hole to try and save his brother but he was unable to reach him. Then he, too, began to be swallowed up by the ever-growing hole and fortunately was rescued by a first responder to the scene. The unimaginable had become a horrific reality.
A friend commented that the story reminded her of a Scripture passage from the book of James, Chapter 4:14 – “You have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears.” As we always do, we look for some good to come out of such a tragedy. Perhaps the “good” is that we must face the truth as James so eloquently describes it. James certainly was familiar with Psalm 39 which says “You have given my days a very short span; my life is as nothing before you. All mortals are but a breath.”
The stark words of the priest as he made the sign of the cross with ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday made the solemnity of the Lenten season very real to me when I was a girl. The words “Remember, man that thou art dust and unto dust you shall return” were chilling. Now the priest has the option of using the words “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.” I still prefer the words I heard as a girl. To me, they are more true to the spirit of the Lenten season and give us a dose of the reality of our mortality.
So, what can we learn from this week’s tragic story? Perhaps during the week ahead, as we put on our “armor of light” every morning to be a source of light to the darkness, we can pray for the soul of the man whose life literally disappeared like a puff of smoke, and pray that God will comfort his family. The Bush family now must stand and watch as their home is demolished because it is unstable. The sinkhole has grown in size and depth since Jeff’s life ended so tragically and it isn’t safe even to enter the home to bring out treasured belongings. Surely that family is truly experiencing the darkness of grief and loss.
Reading the Book of Psalms is something that we can add to our Lenten discipline this week if we haven’t been 100% successful in keeping to our planned fasting and sacrificing. We need to know for certain that God is always near to us. He is always listening. The Psalms are very personal prayers. We can allow them to be an inspiration for us to speak to God in our own words every day.
“Lord, through this terrible tragedy, thank You for reminding us in such stark reality that our lives are indeed but a “puff of smoke” that will not endure. Therefore, as our feet touch the floor each morning, help us to be thankful for the precious gift of the day that You have given us. Fill us with the Light of Your love so that we may have the courage to seek out the dark places where we can share Your Light with others in this uncertain world. And help us to remember that the next day is not promised to us in order that we may make the very best use of the present day. You told Moses that Your name is “I AM”. Lord, let that be a reminder that You are always in the present tense and so help us to live in the present tense of each and every day with You in mind.”