Articles from Third Ministries!
Here we are on the threshold of Lent, with decisions to make. Perhaps we’ve been asking ourselves every year what it is we’ll be giving up this time around. But I dare say it’s time to stop asking that question. Or at least to ask the question in the right way. It’s not merely a question to be asked and a decision to be made about what we can do to suffer most heroically this Lent. Our fasting is not about suffering. And it’s not about weakness. But it’s about being asked by God to love in more and more radical ways, and what it is we will give up to do that.
In other words, what will we give up in order to love as God loves?
Because, you see, with the love that Christ shows us, we have the most powerful weapon that the world will ever know: we can love as God loves. God has placed in our deepest heart of hearts a desire to love as God loves. We can turn the world upside down, to show mercy to those the world would demand that we shun and cast aside. But we hold on to one another and we kiss and we wound one another. I don’t know about all of you, but I can say that I am so clumsy with that love sometimes because I can be so afraid of how powerful it is and the ways it calls me to just pour myself out for others. And yet, it is that love which was spoken, touched nothingness, and being unfolded. That love. We clumsy lovers have that love in our hearts, on our lips, and at our finger tips. We clumsy lovers, we.
So in our Gospel this week, we get a sense that whatever temptations we’re facing, it’s not simply a matter of the choice to follow the rules or break them. We’re talking about all the little ways we choose to be clumsy in our love, to love less, to protect ourselves from intimacy and vulnerability and the sacrifice it takes to love as God loves. Archbishop Fulton Sheen wrote that the Devil gave Jesus three different ways in which he could come into his Kingdom without the Cross, without sacrifice, without that love. But it was that love which led Jesus into the desert, through the temptations, and back into the lives and temptations and clumsy love of his people.
However we find ourselves walking over this threshold into Lent—excited or anxious, weary and ready for some rest—Jesus will be walking into this desert with us. And if he comes with us, it is that love that will see us through Lent. There is no need to dread the sacrifice of Lent. The love of Lent, on the other hand, that is worth walking into the desert for.
Dcn. Tim Grumbach is in his final year of Seminary studies at St. John Seminary in Camarillo, CA. He has a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy from CSU Dominguez Hills. He was ordained as a transitional Deacon in August of 2016, preparing to be ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 2017. Growing up in Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica, he has a real connection to the surf, the mountains, and the people of Southern California. Spending a fair amount of time on surf boards and mountain bikes, his current priorities include finishing an MA in Theology at the Seminary, with a concentration on New Testament Scriptural studies. Dcn. Tim is greatly anticipating his first assignment as an associate pastor after ordination somewhere in Los Angeles, beginning July 2017.