February 19 - Paula Franck


AM Psalm 41, 52; PM Psalm 44

Genesis 37:1-11; 1 Corinthians 1:1-19; Mark 1:1-13


The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” ’, John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

- Mark 1:1-4

On this first Monday in Lent, we read the opening verses of the Gospel of Mark as John the Baptist calls us to “Prepare the way of the Lord . . .” (1:3). Mark goes on to tell us that John’s message was one of repentance and the forgiveness of sins. We read these same words on the Second Sunday of Advent, another season of preparation. In the coming weeks, how are we to prepare the way for the mystery of the miracle of Easter?

Lent is like spring cleaning. It is dusting the cobwebs out of the corners and clearing out the closets, the attic, the basement, and the garage. It is a time to sort through our “stuff” and get rid of what we no longer need. It is the same with our spiritual life. The journey of Lent is an opportunity to do some spiritual spring cleaning – to declutter our souls – so we have room to receive the gift of the Resurrection in our lives.

The Ash Wednesday liturgy calls us to forgiveness, reconciliation, and repentance. “To repent is to come to your senses. It is not so much something you do as something that happens. True repentance spends less time looking at the past and saying, “I’m sorry,” than to the future and saying, “Wow!”*

Thus we can pray with Henri Nouwen: “O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen.”

- Paula Franck

* from Frederick  Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC