These Forty Days
Two symbols confront us as we begin our time of Lent this year, the 40 days, and the desert. 40 is a symbolic number in Israel’s story: the great flood lasts 40 days and 40 nights; Moses spends 40 days and 40 nights on the mountain of God; Israel wanders for 40 years in the wilderness; King David reigns for 40 years; the prophet Elijah travels 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness on his way to the mountain of God. And now Jesus is led into the desert for 40 days.
The fathers of the Church used some ‘divine mathematics’ to unravel something of the mystery of the 40 days. They spoke of the four corners of the earth multiplied by the Ten Commandments. In other words the forty days represent the invitation to all to turn back to the law of God.
It was into the desert that God’s Spirit drove the Son so the war could begin. In the lore of Judaism, the desert was the place to find oneself before God and others. It was in the desert that the people of God found an identity in the Exodus. David found his followers in the desert. Elijah heard the Lord’s message in the desert. Indeed, the drawing card for John the Baptist was the desert experience. The desert was not a place of escape, but a place of discovery. The desert dweller found him or herself facing ‘their own demons’.
So, it’s into the desert that we too are called. Let’s be courageous and heed that call. Let’s not be afraid to confront in these days all that keeps us from knowing the great great love that God has for each one of us.
A blessed and holy Lent to you all.
And a ‘Thank You’…
I want to take the chance to thank all those involved in our ‘Vision Sunday’ mass at Kaiapoi last weekend. +Paul commented how impressed he was with the sense of unity, and the power of the singing and prayer at that mass. We can do great things together ! Lets continue to call down the Holy Spirit on our Parish of St Peter Chanel, that we might continue to grow in holiness. Fr John