by Ken Rolheiser
Another Lent and Everything Has Changed

What are you giving up for Lent? Don’t give up chocolate! Stop smoking. Don’t eat meat! Ashes, prayer, fasting and alms giving! I’ve had it! SEE YOU IN 40 DAYS.

We’ve heard it all too often! What is there to get excited about with another Lent?

This year I will give it all a different twist. Everything has already changed! That is what is exciting! It is all about Resurrection. We don’t have to pretend it didn’t happen yet.

In an Easter Homily “Never Enough” Father Brendan McGuire says there is a great image of what the Resurrection is meant to be for us. “The Resurrection changes everything. Everything,” McGuire says. Without the Resurrection, Saint Paul says, our faith would be meaningless.

That message should change everything for us. But it changes it slowly. This is what Lent is all about. It doesn’t all happen right away. The disciples worked and travelled with Jesus, but they didn’t know! It all changed with the Resurrection!

The Resurrection does not rescue us from pain, McGuire says. Suffering and terrible things happen. “Look at what happened on Good Friday. The Son of God was not rescued from the pain and the suffering. He was redeemed through it.” 

“The Resurrection is not a rescue. It is redemption. … What we celebrate in the Resurrection is all about love. That the God's love is so overwhelming that there is nothing that can out do him,” McGuire says.

What Christ did on Good Friday is the challenge we need to study during Lent. If we aspire to be Christians it is our job to follow Jesus. Christ took all the bitterness, the ugliness, the cursing, the beatings and the suffering; the poison and the hate on Good Friday. 

He took all that in, absorbed it, transformed it, and gave back blessing, gentleness, kindness and even forgiveness. He gives back love, McGuire says. Love has the power to change everything.

What is Lent all about? It is about making a change in our lives, be it ever so slowly. It is about moving toward Jesus and not away from Him. Lent is an opportunity.

A great suggestion I heard recently is to start a regular prayer time if you do not have one. Talking to Jesus every day, be it for ten minutes, will make a difference as Easter and the Resurrection approach.

To many of us, Jesus is someone we once knew, maybe as children remembering Christmas. But over time we got distracted. Our good friend was forgotten. Just talking to an old friend a few minutes every day will rekindle memories and friendship. Even love.

A song “Everything has Changed” by Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran outlines a simple transformation. “All I know is a simple name.” Suppose that name is Jesus. “And everything has changed.” And, “I just wanna know you better, know you better, know you better now”.
The Resurrection made that change. We too can rise and live eternally! We had our old life, “And all my walls / Stood tall painted blue / But I'll take 'em down, take 'em down and open up the door for you.”

All I know is a new found grace
All my days, I'll know your face
All I know since [the Resurrection], yeah
Is everything has changed.

(558 words)