Today's second reading at the Catholic mass was 2 Cor 5:20-6:2. I have used letters from Paul--especially to the Corinthians as part of my person reflection on a number of occasions. This is no exception. The opening verse is, "Brothers and sisters: We are ambassadors for Christ." On a day like Ash Wednesday it is easy to think that way. Anyone who receives ashes on their forehead is easily identifiable as someone who places value on their belief in Christ. What is more of a challenge is being an ambassador for Christ on the other 364 days of the year. Particularly when the Gospel reading today specifically told us not to do things that appear spiritual just for the sake of getting attention. Don't give to charity, don't pray, don't go to church only for the reason of getting attention. Do those things because they truly mean something. Do them to be an ambassador for Christ regardless of what happens next.
Lent is a time for preparation. Historically it is thought of as a time for giving up. Sacrifice does not necessarily mean giving up. Sacrifice can be as much about taking the time to do extra things that are positive.
Personally, I am looking for ways to continue to increase my insight, my understanding, my view of what my religion means to me. I saw a sign in the hospital today that said something to the effect of patients not caring what you know until they know that you care. That is very true of religion. It doesn't matter how much I know about the beliefs and the rules. What matters is hat I live them.
Thus, this time of preparation called Lent is also a time of renewal. A time to look at the various things in my life and decide what to continue with, what to let go for a while, and what to let go forever. And for things that have been sitting around for a while, what to bring to a conclusion. How to push ahead. How to make things happen.
There is a lot to think about between now and Easter. Many miles to run. Many friends with whom to run. Many thoughts to ponder. And hopefully a stronger sense of my beliefs and my spirituality when all is said and done when Easter arrives this year.