February 19, 2018
The popular Christian song Jerusalem, My Destiny written by Rory Cooney captures my attention as we enter this first week of Lent. The title and lyrics highlight the significance of Jerusalem in the life of Jesus. In Luke’s Gospel Jerusalem was the site of Jesus’ passion and resurrection and, later, the place of Pentecost. Whether consciously or unconsciously, from the start of his ministry Jesus’ gaze was fixed on Jerusalem and all he would encounter there.
Cooney suggests that we, too, “set our hearts for the way” for the journey is also our destiny. That phrase invites me, indeed all of us, to open our minds and “set our hearts” for the lessons of this holy season, for more closely following Jesus, the Way, and for all the blessings and challenges we may encounter on the path of discipleship.
This sacred season invites us into the very mystery of God’s love for us, the unimaginable love of God demonstrated in the self-emptying gift of Jesus. As we ponder Jesus’ life and death and all they teach us, we can’t help but examine our own lives and service. How do we measure up as humble, compassionate and loving disciples? Where do we see need and reach out to assist others? Where do we step out in faith to engage a stranger? How easily do we extend forgiveness? How do we allow our hearts to be changed by these encounters? How do we set our hearts … in love, compassion, and courage … for all the future holds?
The way before us may be fraught with difficulties and challenges and even evil, as evidenced by the most recent school attack in Florida. How do we set our hearts to deal with the grief and hopelessness and outrage such incidents inspire? How do we allow the love of God to touch us, comfort us and teach us? Can we draw upon Jesus’ example to help us extend that same love to others, and to proceed courageously and hopefully on the journey before us?
As we embark on our Lenten sojourn let us strive to set our hearts for the way, that we might bear witness to the mystery of God’s love through our imitation of Jesus and to the Easter glory that awaits us as members of God’s family.