As I read the familiar story that launches the yearly Lentin fast, i am struck by Joel’s “render your hearts and not your clothes.” I am struck even more by the shameful memories that there are so few things to render my heart these days. I have become inundated by the daily news of senseless street crimes, coupled with that of a school girl kidnapped as a war trophy, political shenanigans, bombings, and the invasions that I have lost the ability to feel the world's pain deeply in my heart.
In a fast-paced, task-oriented world, there is no time to apply. No time for tears, or sorrows. Only work. So we pull down the window shades, avert our eyes, and put bricks in the place that once provided a window to the world.
Use the few tears that refuse to leave for the joy and concerned prayers. Lent is the time to unbrick ourselves, to tear down the protective walls that has kept us from days of continued tears over the troubles of this world.
Joel 2:13 instructs us: “And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God; for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.” The trumpet has been sounded in Zion and we are called to heart rendering prayers. Between the vestibule and the alter, let the priest and ministers of the Lord weep.
The prophet is calling us beyond one day's ashes, in the sign of the cross to a season of public demonstrations that grieve over the mockery we have become.
We have graduated from giving up chocolate and our favored pleasures to take up the dare to see as God sees things. We are called to look at ourselves in the mirror without makeup, to look across the aisle and across the way without rose colored glasses, and to weep a response at what we might happen to see.
Let us pray!