In the desert, but not deserted-02-26-2012

It’s fitting that the readings on this first Sunday of Lent are about spritual awakenings. In the first reading the Holy Spirit bursts through the flood waters via the souls of Noah and his family. This was the spark of God’s new covenant with man, his second chance at redemption.

That covenant was then made flesh in the form of Jesus Christ and, again, the Holy Spirit burst through. This time it started not with a flood, but in the desert and came to its fulfillment in the waters of the Jordan. In the second reading, Peter says Jesus shared his good news with the “spirits in prison.”

We are all spirits in prison, and in his mercy God constantly sends his spirit to give us new chances at freeing our souls. This doesn’t only happen in the Bible. If we open our eyes we can see the Holy Spirit at work in our daily lives. Today’s paper had a story about a man who was inspired in a dream to donate a kidney to a stranger. And he did it. I didn’t see the words “holy spirit” used in this account, but, like art, I know it when I see it.

We are all called to find inspiration during Lent. Whether that inspiration finds its fulfillment in donating a kidney, donating blood or just donating some kind words, this is the equivalent of finding water in the desert. We should also be open to being on the receiving end of such donations. That’s why I’m grateful this broken ankle happened when it did, because I’m confident it will open my heart to works of the Holy Spirit performed through the people I meet during the next forty days of physical and spiritual healing

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