Lent is an opportunity for us to deepen our friendship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The father is constantly offering us to this opportunity to deepen our relationship with him. We may wonder why God is so eager to a deepen God’s relationship with us. Jesus gives us parable after parable showing how much God truly loves each and every one of us and wants to be a part of our lives. The parable of the prodigal son depicts God as the Jewish father who is constantly waiting for the return of his wayward son. When he sees him still a long way off he goes running to meet him and embraces him with both arms. He tells his servants to kill the fatten calf and to prepare a feast. “For this son of mine was dead and now has come back to us, safe and sound.”
Jesus uses the image of the Good Shepard to impress upon us his concern for our welfare. The shepard counts his sheep and finds one missing. He leaves the herd and searches for the lost sheep. When he finds it, he places it on his shoulders and brings its back to the herd. He then gathers his friends to help him celebrate his good fortune of finding his lost sheep. Jesus is constantly reaching out to us inviting us to a closer and deeper relationship with him. All we need to do is open our hearts to his invitation and he will do the rest.
During the Year of Faith we have additional opportunities to achieve this deeper relationship. Each parish and each diocese have various activities all drawing us to a deeper faith and love of God. For us to develop this deeper relationship, we need a dynamic faith like the faith of a Chinese grandmother I knew in Fiji. Soon after I arrive in the parish of Ba, we had a fierce hurricane. The wind blew for over twenty-four hours. Our Chinese grandmother lived in small wood house just off the main street. As the hurricane began she said that I will be safe if I sit under my picture of the Sacred Heart. So there she sat during the entire storm. This was fine until the roof of the cinema a few doors down from her house blew off and sailed through the air toward her small house. Our Chinese grandmother was left sitting in her chair with two rafters coming down on each side of her. She didn’t have a scratch on her. Her son and a friend had to crawl on their bellies to get her and help her out of the wreckage. When I asked how she felt about the ordeal, she simply said that she wasn’t worried because she knew that Jesus was protecting her from harm.
As we avail of these opportunities of this Year of Faith, we deepen our relationship with Jesus and His Father. We will find ourselves walking with Jesus as he carries his cross through the streets of Jerusalem and standing at the foot of the cross with Mary during Holy Week. Then on Easter Sunday as we look into the empty tomb with the beloved Disciple we can say with him, “I saw and believed.”