Lent: becoming God’s children

By Bp José Luis IMC

 Livi laba yinyama!

We start today our Lenten Journey towards Easter. This is a time of grace, of God’s grace. For the next 40 days we will keep our eyes fixed on the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Among other things, Easter is for us that special day when – together with the whole Church all over the world – we will renew our baptismal promises. Not that they expire! Baptism promises do not come with the type of indication we find in the food: sell by, best before, expires on… We renew them out of love, like couples renew theirs. We once again want to make it clear who it is we choose: Jesus or Satan.

Our baptismal promises remind us of our being “children of God”. John in his first letter says: “You must see what great love the Father has lavished on us by letting us be called God’s children – which is what we are!” (1 John 3:1). Indeed we are God’s children.

At the same time, not sure you noticed, a couple of Sundays ago reading from Luke 6, Jesus said: “Love your enemies and do good to them, and lend without any hope of return. You will have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and wicked”.

We were reminded that: we are children of God but we also become God’s children. Jesus, in Luke’s passage, seems to tell us that a child of God is recognize by the way he or she behaves and this is a daily journey.

Two passages come to my mind, two passages that I would like to invite you to treasure during the coming days until Easter. Two passages that help us reflect on what being God’s children means:

  • Luke 6: 36. “Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate”. One of the things you have heard me say many many times is that, in the same way we love to see in a new born baby features of the father, the mother and other members of the family, we will be recognised as children of God if we look like Jesus in the way we relate to each other.

    Being compassionate is one of the features we need most in this moment. At the time of bullying, at a time when social media can lift up or destroy a person, at a time when some people continue to believe that “an eye for an eye” is the way to go… being compassionate breaks the circle of violence we live in.

  • Matthew 5: 9. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”. Keep in mind the word: peacemaker. It is not just being peaceful but being the one who is able to bring peace, to make peace possible. Like we have been praying for many years: “Lord make me an instrument of your peace… where there is hatred let me sow love…”. It is not about being passive but actively finding ways to build peace on a solid foundation as they address the causes of violence and social injustice.

    Being peacemakers is important in this particular time of our country when some believe the solution to our problems can only be achieved through violence and when other believes that the solution to violence is… more violence! This is strange – to say the least – in a country that calls herself “Christian”.

May this Lenten Season be an opportunity for you and me to keep these two passages in our hearts and to make sure that not only we are called God’s children but we also behave as such. 

(Photo: RNS – Religion News Service)