2nd Sunday of Lent

If God is for us, who can be against us?
~Rm 8:31

During the season of Lent, we hopefully engage in some degree of self-reflection: what have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What will I do for Christ? Not infrequently, when confronted with our sins, assuming we are willing to acknowledge them and take ownership for the ways in which we fail to respond to God’s continual offer of friendship and grace, we become overwhelmed. For many of us, our sins are all too visible to us. Often times, it is easier for us to come up with a list of our faults and failings rather than our virtues and strengths. When we examine ourselves in our “spiritual mirror” we see nothing but defects. We are nothing but an object of divine wrath.

The words of encouragement from St. Paul in the Second Reading this Sunday, from his Letter to the Romans, need to be taken to heart seriously by all of us. God is on your side! He wants you to conquer with him (Christ the Victor – Christos Nike). He is your greatest fan and supporter, and loves you with a love that is greater than any love you will ever have for yourself. We call the Holy Spirit the Advocate for a good reason. While we can frequently engage in self-depreciating and self-destructive exercises, allowing our past sins to dominate our self-assessment, we forget that God is ever loving us and desiring that we move beyond self-hatred (which in the end is ultimately rooted in a form of spiritual pride), and consider how much God desires us to succeed spiritually. With God as our greatest proponent, can anyone or anything really be considered an opponent? Our greatest enemy is truly ourselves, but only if we fail to recognize the good God has done for us, is doing for us, and will continue to do for us, if we but allow him.

Fr. Richard Hinkley