We had a big crowd at Mass this evening, larger than usual. It was close to standing room only. A few people thought that it was Christmas. But the reality is that a big snow storm is supposed to arrive beginning tomorrow, and people wanted to get Mass in before the storm. Getting ready is a part of our lives this Winter: we hear the forecast, we gear up, we run to the store for the usual emergency provisions of bread, milk, tp and of course rock salt. I am hoping that it is all in vain, and that the storm will not materialize. But we are ready. I went out to dinner tonight and brought enough left overs home to tide me through the storm - I'm ready.
We get ready for many things that touch our lives, and we spend time and effort and money to do so. Then the event happens and it is all over before it began.
There is a "getting ready" that is about to begin in our faith life - the beginning of the great season of grace called Lent. Next Wednesday we are signed with ashes as a sign of our commitment to journey through forty days of fasting and prayer in order to prepare us for our confrontation with the crucified Lord and to receive the gift of renewed life found in his resurrection. We will be invited to approach Lent with hope and expectation, with joy and longing for the blessings found at the end of this journey. I like watching Rick Steve's travels through Europe on PBS and last evening he was on the pilgrimage trail to Santiago de Compostela. He pointed out the rigors of the journey, the varied motivations of the pilgrims, the temptations and discouragements that prompt some to give up, but also the absolute joy of finishing the trek, of running the race, of finding grace at the end of the journey. But you do not enter "the way" lightly or unprepared, either physically, emotionally or spiritually. You need to be ready for the journey. Our camino is Lent. Our motivation is to seek first the Kingdom of God. Our goal is the Cross which leads to the Resurrection. And our time is NOW! Make this Lent count ... may we be open to every blessing in store for us on our journey.