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Lenten Reflections: Third Sunday of Lent

March 8
Reflection by John Glynn, STM'11

John Glynn, STM'11, is a campus minister at Boston College where he oversees the wildly popular Kairos Retreats for BC undergraduates. John also serves as Resident Minister to undergrads in Ignacio and Rubenstein Halls, and is actively engaged with the Contemplative Leaders in Action program through The Jesuit Collaborative in Boston.

I feel at home on the highway. This thought struck me as I was riding in the backseat of a van crammed with BC faculty, staff, and students on our way from Paris to Taize, the location of an ecumenical monastic community and our spring break destination. (I have a feeling we won't be seeing MTV there). Having moved several times in my life, the highway has always been a constant for me. Whether on midnight trips from DC to visit family in Indiana, or on the move from South Bend to Florida then Orlando to Boston, or zooming through the French countryside, highways evoke a familiar sense of place, of being at home.

Church in Taize
Image: Church in Taize, France (Photo by Bob Sessions)

In today's readings (Ex 20:1-17 and 1 Cor 1: 22-25) I'm reminded that the Israelites also knew what it was to be at home on the road. Fleeing from Egypt, they were a nation on the run, and developed the ten rules we read about today to help them keep going in the right direction, lest in their traveling to find a new home they lose themselves. For a time it worked, but when your home is the highway, getting lost is a constant danger - and perhaps this is what angered Jesus so much in today's Gospel. (John 2:13-25) Seeing just how lost his people had become, in a fit of disgust he drives out the money changers from the Temple - the commercial from the sacred - the profane from the holy. (If only I could drive the profane from the holy in my heart just as easily!)

As Christians, we are likewise a pilgrim people, and perhaps it's that sense of journey-as-being that I feel connected to when I'm on the road. Early Christians followed the Way of Christ, and committed themselves to living their lives as if it were all true: God came to us in human form, preached repentance and compassion and freedom from sin, was tortured and killed, yet rose from the dead to new life. Our sins need not keep us from each other and from God. Forgiveness is possible, healing is possible, life always wins. But as we know, when our home is the highway, it's easy to lose our way.

Fortunately, this is Lent - this is our opportunity to accept Christ's invitation to repent, get back on the right track, and follow the new rules of the road that will lead us to authentic personhood. Forgive and accept forgiveness, heal and be healed, and love can win over death.

We can ask ourselves this week: how have we strayed from our authentic selves? How do we need to change our ways in order to return to the road of peace, healing and forgiveness Christ invites us to travel?

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