First Sunday of Lent
Mark 1: 12-15
In today’s world of technology, it is a challenge to empty our minds and be present to the God within us. Our lives are filled with noise and activity: televisions, iPads, iPhones, loud music, messaging, games, etc. Our personal contacts are in jeopardy as we text one another...even if we are under the same roof. How do we empty our cluttered lives and pay heed to God’s constant invitation to surrender?
Mark, in his gospel, shows us Jesus’ way. This was a painful time for Jesus. His soul mate, John the Baptist, had been arrested and Jesus’ own life was in jeopardy. Jesus withdraws to the desert where, in silence, he hears God’s words of compassion and love. “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He assures Jesus that “the blind will see, the lame will walk, and the poor have the good news preached to them.”
I’ll admit it. I used to think of Lent as a long, dark and dismal period, something to be endured before the joy of Easter. Since we started sharing the journey with Sisters and Associates, I now find it an affirming, uplifting time. The reflections on the Sunday Readings and the comments shared make the journey an enlightening experience. Thank you Sister Joan!
On January 20, we went for our weekly visit to Hillsborough Hospital where we teach mentally challenged young people. The five students and two staff members gathered with us in the Chapel. Our hearts were heavy because Sister Mary Cummiskey was missing. They expressed their sympathy with generous hugs. Nobody wanted to do school work that day, we had to remember Mary. Everyone took part in a Memorial Service. We sang hymns, had Scripture readings and special prayers including the “Prayer of St. Francis” which describes her well. A very touching ritual took place. As each one placed a marguerite in a flower vase and lit a candle, he/she spoke of Mary: “I love Sister Mary… I miss Sister Mary… She had such a lovely smile!… She was so kind!” Andrew, her special student, gasped when he heard the news of her death, “My Mary?” He came to the wake with a rose which he placed on her casket. The love which she gave them was returned abundantly!