Most of us have been in the practice of “giving something up” for Lent; of making a sacrifice of sorts – but to what end? Of course this is an important practice and as we seek to grow in our lives of faith, we may even realize that we ought to go beyond this simple gesture of faith if we are to grow as Christian Disciples. Today’s Gospel offers us all a very important point of reflection. What are we doing for others? We know the Lord desires our loving and unselfish gift of ourselves for Him and for others – so it’s important for us, especially in the season of Lent to ask ourselves this important question. All of us! Even if we have found the ways to serve, do we serve simply for the sake of others or do we serve and hope for some credit and to be thought of a certain way because of it? Do we seek to do more, or continue to do what we’ve been doing for a while. Are we making every effort to examine our lives and to ask ourselves before the Lord in prayer, are there places we could be doing more?
This is a question we all should ask ourselves and if Lent is for us a place of greater encounter with the Lord, we ought to ask Him to help us see these places. Often times, when we feel the passion that a deeper encounter with the Lord brings to our lives we feel like doing something dramatic in answer to this – and maybe this is the right thing to do, but not if there are areas where serving needs around us are being neglected. The corporal works of mercy, which Jesus calls us to and in today’s Gospel especially are meant to be given by each of us in loving generosity, but with the people the Lord has given and entrusted us with first; family, friends, people we minister to, in our parish family, in the community we live in, in whatever measure we can give.
May our Lenten experience help each one of us deepen our commitment to serving others; I can assure you that if you have not yet discovered what the Lord is calling you to (your vocation), He will reveal it to you in midst of service – every vocation is about service and without discerning ways we might serve in greater ways, we will be hard-pressed to discover what it is the Lord calls us to.