Joel 2:12-18; 2 Corinthians 5:20—6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
The purpose of Lent is to draw us closer to the Lord Jesus by thinking and meditating and praying about that part of His life that brought Him to death and then to the Resurrection. Truly all of his life was this same journey, but there are aspects of His life that are stronger in the journey.
One of those aspects is His preaching of conversion to all. By conversion, we do not need to think of changing from a life of sin to a better life. We do need to think of changing the heart so that it truly seeks God and not just religious practice.
The first reading, from the Prophet Joel today, speaks so clearly to this call of God to us: return to me with your whole heart, rend your hearts and not your garments! Yes, there is mention of fasting and weeping and penitential practice, but no matter what we do, if we do not do it with our whole heart, we are not seeking the Lord, but just serving ourselves and religious practice.
The Second Letter to the Corinthians today tells us: We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
What is this reconciliation? It is never a matter just of doing the right thing. Reconciliation is bring two things together, bringing my heart together with the heart of God, putting myself into the heart of God.
So the Gospel of Matthew sums it all up: your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you. It is our hearts that the Father sees. We can fool everyone else, but we cannot fool God. May this Lent be a time of true conversion in our hearts so that we live for God and seek His ways and rejoice in His love.
From The Abbot's Homilies