The season of Lent concentrates the meaning of the Christian pilgrimage to God and with God into a span of forty days (excluding Sundays!). It is really the journey of the soul in love; the love of God and that love as moving more and more within us.
We go up to Jerusalem, Jesus tells the disciples on Quinquagesima Sunday, the Sunday before the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday. We go up with Jesus and we go up in the increasing and growing awareness of what Jerusalem means. A journey in love, to be sure, but one in which we confront all the forms of our unloveliness. Ultimately, the divine love bears all our unloveliness on the Cross of Christ Crucified. What really is our unloveliness? Sin, in all its endless forms, to be sure, but which can be brought under the one heading of the one central theme of betrayal, ultimately our betrayals of love.
It will be our challenge this Lent to contemplate the forms of betrayal in the witness of the Scriptures belonging to the ultimate betrayal that results in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The kiss of Judas is an image that includes us all in its scope and meaning.
To contemplate the forms of betrayal through the witness of the Scriptures shall be for us, I pray, the occasions of the deepening of our penitential adoration; our love for God borne out of his deep love for us signaled so sweetly and strongly in the crucifixion of Christ.
It is really all a question about the direction of our loves and our lives. We begin, to be sure, with the dust and ashes of Ash Wednesday, the reminder to us of what John Donne calls ‘the creeping serpent’, but we go up to Jerusalem with Christ, ‘the exalted’ and the ‘crucified serpent’ who is raised up to draw us all to him in whom we find our salvation.
Fr. David Curry