When the hour came, Jesus took his place at the table with the apostles. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for , I tell you, I shall not eat it again until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” (LK 22:14-16)
When the sun set on Thursday evening, the great feast of Passover bean for the Jewish people. Its centerpiece was a meal at which the paschal lamb was eaten.
At this mean Jesus looked to the past – the night when the Israelites escaped from slavery in Egypt. But he also looked to the future – the great banquet in heaven.
Lent also looks two ways. I look to my mixed past – joys and sorrows, success and failures, good deeds and sins. But I also look to my future – the great feast of Easter and the assured victory of life over all forms of death.
The ashes on my forehead are not a gloomy symbol. They express my belief that through death I find life. Dying to old ways of sin brings the peace I’ve always wanted.
No Lenten penance dead ends in pain. Beneath true penance is always the experience of God’s loving presence. Plus the sense that I’m moving in a good direction.
I can spend a lot of time on my past, maybe too much. Maybe I should talk to the Lord about my future. For starters, talk about these next 40 days. Don’t drift halfheartedly into Lent. Plunge into it.