Third Sunday of Lent

March 24, 2019 | Barbara Conroy, OSB

“But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did.” Luke 13:5

Throughout Lent we are often reminded to repent, to look back over our lives and to look ahead with a greater wholeness. Tonight, we hear not once, but twice, “But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish.” Repenting is not something that I enjoy doing. It asks of me a real openness and vulnerability. There’s a fear of not being accepted, being criticized or not forgiven. But after reflecting on the experience I am given a sense of freedom.

One of the roles I take very serious in my present ministry as a hospice chaplain is to guide those I am blessed to meet in their final journey. Often, I have my patients share with me their “bucket list.” What they would like to do before they die. Many times, those that are dying have people in their lives that they would like to talk with, because of some past pain. I know from experience that some people never get to have that conversation. And then usually the outcome is that those I journey with as a bereavement coordinator now carry the pain.

Recently, I have been reading a book by Donald Burt, “Reflections on a Dying Life.” Donald states, “Our whole life is a hospice. For us to move from life to ETERNAL LIFE we must pass through death and as long as we live on this side of death, we need comfort and support from others. There will be disputes and even quarrels between the most fervent lovers, but if the love is strong it will endure, perhaps somewhat scarred but still firm. Of course, our love would be more perfect if such disputes never arose, but this is not likely to happen this side of death. We are too different and too much a mystery to each other for this to happen.”

Knowing the necessity for openness among us let us take time during Lent to reflect on what we would put on our “bucket list.” Who do we need to talk with? Who do we need comfort and support from? Let us pray for each other this Lent so that we grow in love as we look forward to the joy of Easter.