Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Happy Lent! We don’t usually think of Lent as a “happy” time, but we should. This is perhaps the most important season of the Church year, when God invites you and me to draw even closer to him. When we respond to God’s invitation, we discover how blessed we are to have him as our fortress and our refuge. And being blessed by God is the meaning of true happiness. So happy Lent!
I want to welcome those of you who are reading The Word Among Us for the first time. If you can set aside ten or fifteen minutes each day to pray and reflect on the daily Mass readings using this little magazine, you will be joining more than one million Catholics in one hundred countries doing the same thing. Together, may we all come to see more clearly the goodness and love of our heavenly Father!
Encountering the Goodness of God. The main articles in this issue explore just how good our God really is. Think back on all that God has done since he created the world, and you’ll see him as a Father who is always loving and always caring toward us. Imagine: every time God creates another person, he goes so far as to stamp that person with unique, never-to-be-repeated fingerprints. Those prints are like his own personal signature saying, “This is my own child.” Even when we stray from his path, God is so good that he never gives up on us—not even for a moment.
And when the time was just right, our good Father loved the world so much “that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16). Insert your name into that sentence! “God loved me so much that he sent his only Son, Jesus, so that I would not perish but would live with him forever.” When you see a friend at church, remind yourself that God “loved that brother or sister in Christ so much” that he considered it worth the cost of giving up his only Son. That’s how deeply God loves each of us—how deeply he loves the entire world!
Brothers and sisters, we have a good, good God. So how can we “repay the Lord for all the great good” he has done for us (Psalm 116:12)? Of course, we could never repay him fully for the immeasurable love he has poured out on us. But we can do a few things.
First, we can commit ourselves to praying every day. We can tell Jesus, “I love you, Lord, more than anything else in my life, even the good things.” We can receive Jesus in the Eucharist and thank him for leaving his throne in heaven just to redeem us. And sometime during Lent, we can meet Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and hear him speak these words of comfort and pardon: “Neither do I condemn you” (John 8:11).
Your Father in heaven knows how to give good gifts to his children. May we all be willing to receive those gifts. And may we all have a happy Lent!